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Beef and vegetables the Chinese way

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Back in the 1970's, Oriental cooking became a very popular type of cuisine. We began to see items used for Chinese and Japanese cookery that most American cooks weren't very familiar with, such as a wok. In recent years, rice cookers have come on the scene and have reintroduced Oriental cooking to new generation, since rice is a staple of the Oriental diet.

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"Stir-Frying" was a new term to those learning about Chinese cooking back in years past. This is a combination of frying meat and/or vegetables over high heat and stirring it constantly to provide even cooking and is commonly used in this type of cookery. This brings me to the recipe I'm sharing which is for "Chinese Beef and Vegetables". While this is a detailed recipe, it doesn't take long to prepare once you have your ingredients at close hand and ready to go.

The trick to successful stir-frying is to have your vegetables and meat cut and ready. Then, you'll need to have your seasonings ready to use. You'll want to have everything ready and lined up near your range in the order you need them. This will help your cooking go quickly and easily.

This recipe contains onions, red bell peppers and carrots, as well as round steak. You can get the steak in a whole portion and cut it into strips for this recipe or you can now get beef that's designed especially for stir-frying. It'll usually indicates this on the label that it's good for stir-frying. However, if this is not available, regular round steak will work just great.

You start by preparing the meat, which is by cutting it into strips. Then, you prepare your vegetables and seasonings. You can use a deep Dutch oven to cook this in or if you're fortunate enough to have a wok, then you'll really have fun with this recipe! The oil is heated and flavored with garlic and fresh ground gingerroot. This can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. The beef goes in and is stir-fried until it's brown. It's removed and set aside. In goes more oil, followed by the vegetables. All this gets stir-fried. Some seasonings go in and the meat is returned to the pan with the vegetables. A mixture of beef broth and cornstarch goes in to thicken the sauce. Have some hot rice ready and served over it, it's a sensation!

Another good Chinese recipe I shared sometime ago was for "Chinese Style Rice", which dresses rice up with an Oriental flare! To get the recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/rice-prepared-as-the-chinese-do

If you're new to Oriental cookery, this is an easy recipe to being with. If you're a "pro" at this type of cooking, you'll enjoy it even more with this main dish:

CHINESE BEEF AND VEGETABLES

  • 1 pound beef top round steak, cut about 1-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (gingerroot)
  • 2 small onions, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 3 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth or consumme

Place meat on a cutting board and with a large sharp knife, trim fat from meat and discard. Holding knife at a 45 degree angle over the meat, cut diagonally across the grain (the lengthwise fibers in meat) into 1/8 inch thick slices. Cutting the meat across the tough fibers makes it more tender. Placing the meat in the freezer for about 2 hours before slicing will make it easier to cut. The pieces of meat should be the same size so that they will cook in the same amount of time.

In a small bowl with a fork, mix together the soy sauce and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved and set aside (since cornstarch tends to settle to the bottom of the bowl, be sure to remix it before adding mixture to the wok). Since actual cooking time is short, prepare ingredients and arrange them by the range in the order in which they will be used. In a wok or large, deep skillet over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until very hot. Add ginger and garlic and cook 1 minute to flavor the oil. Add meat and using 2 spoons, cook meat, stirring quickly and frequently (stir-fry) about 3 minutes or until meat browns and loses its pink color. Spoon meat into bowl, leaving the oil, garlic and ginger in the wok. Set meat aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until very hot. Add onions and peppers, stir-frying for about 2 minutes. Add broccoli and carrots and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until tender-crisp. Return meat to the wok. Warm beef broth by pouring it around edges of wok (cold liquids will make meat tough). Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring until sauce thickens. Serve with rice. Yield: 4 servings.

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