Charged with the task of reviewing a brand new cookbook: Chinese Soul Food, by Hsiao-Ching Chou, I was excited, as I don’t have any Chinese or Asian-inspired cookbooks. While I typically go to Chinese restaurants or take advantage of carryout from nearby favorites, I rarely tackle the cuisine on my own. So I decided to make something from this cookbook before I reviewed it. My review will come soon.
As the book’s subtitle suggests, it’s a Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups and More. I leafed through the recipes and decided that beef with broccoli would be reasonably simple and also test my stir-frying skills. But rather than using broccoli, I chose green beans since I had a two-pound bag ready to go. As you see in the pictures, I added slices of red pepper for color too. I also sprinkled roasted sesame seeds on the final dish for yet another touch. Paired with fluffy jasmine rice, the recipe was quite good. I added a splash more soy sauce after tasting the first few bites. If you prefer some kick, you can also add a touch of chili sauce or Chinese barbeque sauce.
A word of caution—be prepared for a stir-fry mess and lingering aromas. And make sure you have enough saucepans, a microplane for grating the ginger and a sharp knife for slicing the beef. My wok was too large for this recipe so I chose a three-quart chef’s pan that worked perfectly.
Here’s the recipe. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think.
½ pound flank steak
2 T plus 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce, divided, plus more as needed
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
1 tsp Shaoxing wine* or dry Marsala wine
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
1 T plus 1 ½ tsps cornstarch
1 T vegetable oil
2 heaping cups broccoli** florets, blanched for about 2 minutes, drained
2 – 3 T water
1 tsp hoisin sauce
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Optional: 1 cup thinly sliced red peppers
* Dry sherry is a good substitute for Shaoxing wine.
** Fresh green beans or asparagus work well too
Trim the flank steak of any large pieces of membrane. Cut the flank steak in half or thirds (approximately 3 inches wide) lengthwise, or with the grain. Cut these sections against the grain into 1/8 inch slices. Place the beef in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, ginger, wine and garlic. Mix well. Add the cornstarch and mix again.
Preheat the wok over high heat until wisps of smoke rise from the surface. Add the vegetable oil and heat until it starts to shimmer. Gently add the beef and, using a spatula, spread it into a single layer. Sear it for about 30 seconds and then stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until meat has browned. Add the broccoli or green beans, water, remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, and the hoisin. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Toss in the red peppers and add a dash more soy sauce. Drizzle with the sesame oil and serve with steamed rice.