Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cooking from the Web – Appetite for China - Black Pepper Beef Stir-fry

I’m always on the lookout for new recipe sources. So that means a fair amount of time is spent searching the web. While looking for a sui mai recipe, I came across Appetite for China, a website with the fantastic tag line of “1.3 billion people must be eating something right.” Conveniently, Appetite for China has an index of all it’s recipes, and one beef recipe caught my eye: “Black Pepper Beef Stir-Fry”. With all the necessary ingredients on hand, it was time to see if Appetite for China is worth its salt.

Like almost every Chinese recipe, this one starts with a marinade.

Here 2 tbs of dark soy, ½ tbs shaoxing wine, ½ tsp sesame oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and a whole lot of dark pepper are all added to a bowl. The recipe calls for 1 tsp of black pepper, but I went a little overboard.

From the start I took a few liberties with the recipe. First was the excess pepper. Second, instead of using flank steak, I used a top round that I had from my last order of Flying M Farm beef. Third, I didn’t marinate the whole steak, but sliced the steak first then added it to the marinade.

Sorry for the excessive flash

But without it, everything just looks muddy.

While the steak was marinating, I got together the rest of the ingredients.

Starting from the to, we have ½ a yellow onion thinly sliced, 1 medium bell pepper thinly sliced, ½ tsp shaoxing wine, the marinating beef and lastly a sauce. Making up the sauce was 1 tbs oyster sauce mixed with 1 tbs water, ½ tbs dark soy sauce, ½ tbs shoaxing wine, 1 tbs sugar, and ½ tsp sesame oil.

Now, I was ready to start cooking. First 2 tbs of peanut oil were added to a wok on high heat.

Once the oil was smoking, I drained the excess marinade and added the beef to the wok.

The idea is really to velvet the meat here, not cook it all the way through. The recipe calls for 3 minutes to get the job done.

With the beef cooked, it was time to move on to the vegetables.

Another tbs of oil went in the wok along with the vegetables.

They were cooked until they were just caramelized, 2 minutes give or take.

The beef was reintroduced to the wok along with ½ tsp of shaoxing wine to deglaze.

Can’t forget the sauce!

I just tossed everything to make sure it was all up to temperature and then dished it out into a waiting bowl.

Served over some white rice, this was a tasty little dish.

I was a little worried about how dark everything looked but the dark soy wasn’t overpowering at all. However, I will make a few changes next time; I’ll use the recommended flank steak and I won’t be stingy with the black pepper. It never hurts to have some more black pepper.

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