Broccoli Beef

There is something about Chinese food that has always held a sort of fascination for me. The ingredients are so simple, but sometimes it amazes me that such simple combinations can be so delicious and taste so complex.

I think the nature of Chinese food has always been something regionally adaptable, simple, using a combination of fresh vegetables and a small amount of meat, to make a really satisfying meal.  My earliest memories of eating at a Chinese restaurant are of a little place back in Woodward, OK.  Of course, my favorite was Broccoli Beef and lots of steamed rice doused in soy sauce.

Tonight, I made this for my family.  It has been quite a while since I've made Chinese at home.  There are so many take-outs nearby, and the convenience of eating there over at home, has really put my recipes for similar foods in the back of the cookbook.

Dear hubby Justin took a bite tonight and asked me where I hid the takeout box. He said it was great.  Even my picky 4-year old son inhaled his and declared that Chinese steak was his favorite. That was nice to hear.  I like having compliments on my cooking, but to get a picky little turkey like Eric to tell me it was good really means something.

about 1 lb thinly sliced beef, sirloin, chuck, flank, or even tenderloin in strips
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use a microplane grater for best results)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sake (rice wine)
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 heads broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tablespoons canola oil

For the sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sake
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup beef or chicken broth (or equivalent of bouillon dissolved in water)

1. Combine the grated ginger, soy sauce, sake, corn starch, and pepper, Mix well and pour over the sliced beef.  Mix it around and let rest about 10 minutes.

2. Steam or microwave the broccoli about 2 minutes, or until just starting to get tender. Drain well and set aside.

3.Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.

4. Heat up a wok or large frying pan over high heat.  Add the oil and swirl around.  Add the beef carefully arranged so it's all in a single layer, even working up toward the edges of the pan.  This sounds weird but it works.  It keeps the meat from releasing all its juices and making a big puddle that the meat boils in. Make sure to keep the temperature really hot too to sear the juices in.

5. After about 2 minutes, flip the beef.  Keep it up the pan's sides. Add the garlic to the center of the pan.  Let it cook only 1 minute.

6. Add the sauce to the hot pan.  Stir it so the beef and garlic are coated well.  Add the broccoli.  Stir again to coat the broccoli in the sauce.

7. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Notes: If you want to reduce the sodium levels, be sure to use light soy sauce, or even tamari.  For the sauce you could use 1/4 cup plain water instead of broth or bouillon.  Also, if you want other vegetables sliced carrots, onion, water chestnuts, or even evil mushrooms (for you mushroomy people) could be added.


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