Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
Beef with Broccoli in Oyster sauce is one of those ubiquitous dishes on westernized Chinese restaurant menus and is a special favorite of my wife. I am less keen on it, and much prefer it with Gai Lan, rather than the regular old broccoli, but I make it from time to time for my wife and I thought that today I would share one of my takes on the basic idea…
- ¾ lb. of Beef steak
- 2 cups of fresh Broccoli florets
- 1 small Onion, cut into wedges and the layers separated
- 2tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. plus ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ cup Chicken Stock
- ¼ cup White Wine
- 3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
- 2 tbsp. of finely shredded Ginger
- Cooking Oil (not shown)
The white wine is a bit of a departure from most recipes for this dish and you can substitute rice wine (or just omit the wine component entirely if you like). I actually don’t have any rice wine in the house at the moment anyway but I have made this dish with white wine many times now and I like it very much.
Our first task is to blanch the broccoli. Heat a large pot of salted water on the stove and have ready another pot or basin of ice cold water near to hand. When the water comes to the boil, add the florets. Let them blanche for a good 30 or 45 seconds and then toss in the tablespoon of baking soda. Stir for a few seconds and then immediately drain the pot and put the florets into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain once the florets are chilled and set aside.
Make a sauce by combing the stock, wine, oyster sauce, sugar, and the single teaspoon of cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well, making sure the cornstarch doesn’t ‘clump’ and set aside.
Pound out the steak to tenderize and then cut it into small sections. You want pieces that have a surface area roughly about the size of two postage stamps and are no more than about 3 or 4 millimeters thick. Mix together the remaining baking soda and cornstarch along with just a pinch of salt and toss the meat with the mixture, coating all the pieces well. Leave to sit for twenty minutes or so. The baking soda will further tenderize the meat and the cornstarch will give it a nice texture when fried.
When you are ready to cook, heat your pan over a moderately hot flame and add a half cup of cooking oil. When it is hot, cook the meat slices in two batches, stirring well to keep the pieces separated. As the batches get nicely browned and just a little crispy at the edges, remove the meat to a bowl.
Drain the pan of all but a tablespoon or so of oil and add the ginger. When it gives off its aroma, add in the onion and stir well for about thirty seconds or so.
Add the broccoli and stir until the florets are nicely heated through. Add the meat, stir for a few seconds more and add the sauce mixture. Continue cooking for two minutes or so until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Plate and serve immediately.
I served this dish with rice fried with peas and mushrooms and I have to say that it turned out to almost be my best. I say ‘almost’ because there was a slight imbalance in the flavor. This is the first time I have used the ‘Panda’ variety of Oyster sauce and I should have tested it first as it was less salty and quite a bit sweeter than other brands. Next time I will know to adjust for this. Still, the end result was pleasing and my wife and I enjoyed it very much. Please give it a try ….