|Stir-fry beef with snow peas|
earlier, when a recipe is from another source, it shall be duly credited. The recipe given below is from one of my favourite cookbooks, Charmaine Solomon’s ‘The Complete Asian Cookbook’. I use the 1978 version, though later republished versions are now available in the market.
(Beef with snow peas)
Cooked on: Stir-fried on high heat
Accompaniment: Red wine
Try this with: Egg noodles
Rump steak 500 g
Light soy sauce 2 TBS
Salt ½ TSP
Chinese mushrooms 6, dried
Snow peas/ flat matar 250 g
Oil 3 TBS
Spring onions 4, cut into 1” length
Chinese wine or dry sherry 1 TBS
Sugar ½ TSP
Beef stock ½ CUP
Cornflour 3 TSP
Cold water 1 TBS
- Cut the lean meat into fine shreds. Sprinkle with soy and salt, mix and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Trim the stems off the mushrooms and slice the caps into thin strips.
- String snow peas and blanch for 2 minutes in lightly salted boiling water.
- Heat 2 TBS oil in a wok; once the oil is very hot, add beef/meat and stir fry over high heat until the meat changes colour. Remove to a dish and wipe out the wok.
- Heat remaining 1 TBS oil, add mushrooms and spring onions; fry 1 minute.
- Add wine/sherry, sugar and stock. Bring to boil, add cornflour blended smoothly with cold water, stir until it clears and thickens.
- Return beef/meat and snow peas to wok, stir and heat through and serve immediately with rice or noodles.
- For those who do not eat beef, substitute with pork, lamb or chicken. Vegetarians can skip the meat completely and use more mushrooms or tofu. With any meat – particularly beef or lamb – trim off excess fat; the recipe uses lean meat.
- The last time I checked, most Indian stores have dark soy sauce. Since I was also lazy and preliminary searches yielded only dark soy; I used 1 tablespoon diluted with water. Strict chefs will tell you that my Chinese dish therefore, was a fraud. It was still very tasty.
- Most ingredients – Chinese wine, Chinese mushrooms (shiitake mushrooms, pronounced see-ta-kay) – can be found at specialty food stores. I used fresh shitake mushrooms in the grocery store, dried ones work equally well. In case you don’t find shiitake mushrooms, use large sized button mushrooms or canned oyster mushrooms. Be warned though that the texture of all mushrooms are very different and might affect how the dish tastes. The shiitake has a beautiful, spongy texture, while the button mushrooms are more brittle.
- For dry shiitake mushrooms: Soak them in hot water for 30 minutes to soften them.
- Snow peas are your regular peas/matar, except that the pod is still very flat and the seeds (peas) are not mature yet. Since in India, the best, fresh peas are found in winter; you can substitute snow peas with regular snap peas (matar with the pod).
- Substitute chicken stock – Nestle/Maggi cubes work too – instead of beef stock.
- Always dissolve the cornflour – there should be no lumps – in cold water.
- Cooking egg noodles: These days, egg noodles are available at most local green grocers and come in pre-packaged bundles. Till I read Charmaine Solomon’s tip, I always overcooked the noodles. Charmaine suggests soaking the bundles in hot water (10 minutes) to allow the strands to separate and cook evenly. The noodles should be cooked immediately after softening. To avoid the water from boiling over, add a teaspoon of oil. Once the water boils, fine noodles should be cooked for 2-3 minutes, wide noodles 3-4 minutes. She adds, “Once cooked, drain noodles immediately in a large colander/ sieve and cold, then run cold water through the noodles to rinse off excess starch and cool the noodles so they don’t continue to cook in their own heat. Drain thoroughly. To reheat, pour boiling water through noodles in a colander.”
THE COMPLETE ASIAN COOKBOOK
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (April 15, 2006)
REFERENCES: Light soy sauce: Lighter in color, and also sweeter than dark soy sauce. Snow peas: They are most used in stir fry dishes associated with American Chinese cuisine but less used in China. Ching’s Secret Dark Soy Sauce: This Indian-style soy sauce is made from a mixture of soya beans, chillies, sugar and water, which is then fermented. Shiitake mushrooms
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