This is probably the simplest of the easy oriental series so far. While I was doing my online research (seeing how others have photographed the dish) I came across the phrase “takeout standard” on a couple of blogs. I won’t provide links here as it probably is not fair to diss the efforts of fellow food bloggers. But, let’s get real. If the height of culinary ambition is to match the dross sold in most Chinese take-out, we are wasting each other’s time. So, either read on my friends, or reach for the phone and that menu you found in the letterbox.
I say that this is easy but I also have to say that Beef and Broccoli is really, really delicious. The flavour combinations of the main ingredients bring out the very best in each other.
- Half a kilo of prime beef sirloin
- Quarter of a kilo of fresh broccoli
- A couple of teaspoons of ginger
- A large clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Shoxing rice wine
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- A couple of twists of black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil for mixing and frying (see below)
- Rice to accompany (Thai Fragrant is my favourite for this)
First thing to do is to place the beef in the freezer for half an hour. This will make it very easy to cut, if a little chilly on your delicate fingers. While the beef is chillin’, prepare the other ingredients in as much as one needs to prepare them. First, get your rice rinsed and cooking. Follow the instructions on the bag, you don’t need me for that. Then, chop the ginger and garlic.
The cut the broccoli into pieces that will be small enough to put into your mouth with looking like a savage. They should be about the same size as the finished beef slices. This allows for even cooking.
Measure out the soy and rice wine into a cup. This makes for easier pouring. Take the beef out of the freezer, trim off the fat and undesirable bits. Slice into thin slices.
Put the beef in a bowl and add the cornstarch and about half the oil. Then give it a good stir.
Heat about half the remaining oil in your trusty wok. Add the broccoli and start stirring. You will need to keep things moving to prevent the broccoli burning.
When it has changed to a nice high green colour, remove it from the wok.
Add the last of the oil (not much) to the wok and add the beef, a bit at a time to prevent the wok temperature dropping too much. Stir like crazy.
When about half the beef is added, add the garlic and ginger. This prevents the garlic and ginger burning and you will get the best out of their beautiful flavours.
You should now notice that there is a lot more oil in the wok than you have added. That is because the beef releases the oil it absorbed earlier. Pour off the excess oil and then add the soy and rice wine.
Let this reduce a little and then add the oyster sauce.
Side note on oyster sauce: Don’t buy cheap stuff. The price and quality vary greatly. Don’t be a tightwad. Spend the cash. You will reap the taste rewards.
Stir and add the broccoli.
When it has warmed a bit (this does not take long), get ready to serve.
Serve along with some of the rice. There is enough in this for three people with belching, or four with a reasonable expectation of being satisfied.
This is far and away ahead of anything you will get from a takeaway. The only way you have of proving that is to cook it. I will be cooking it again, and again, and again. It is delicious.