Mushroom Scallion Beef

Today’s dish is a fairly straightforward preparation that is really easy to put together. Beef and mushrooms always go together and, for this particular stir-fried version, I will be using Chinese Black Mushrooms (commonly known as Shiitake)  and Shaoxing Wine for a bit of added depth…

The Ingredients

  • ¾ lbs. Beef, sliced in thick julienne shreds;
  • 6 – 8 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, reconstituted in water and sliced;
  • 4 Scallions;
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped;
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch;
  • 1 pinch Baking Soda;
  • 1 tsp. Sugar;
  • ½ tsp. each Salt and White Pepper;
  • ¾ cup of Chicken Stock;
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing Wine;
  • Cooking Oil (as needed).

The Method

Slice the scallions into two inch sections, keeping the white and green parts separate. Then, make a thin paste with 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of water and then blend this with the wine, chicken stock and the sugar. Set this aside to use a sauce later.

Season the beef shreds with the salt and pepper and then toss them with the baking soda and cornstarch, kneading the starch into the meat until it is all absorbed. Finally, stir about a tablespoon or so of oil into the shreds to coat them as this will help them to separate when frying. Set the meat aside for now to allow the baking soda to tenderize the shreds.

To pre-cook the beef, heat a cup or two of oil in your wok over a medium-high flame and fry the shreds, in batches, until they are starting to turn nicely brown on the outside. If your heat is high enough, they should remain quite tender and juicy on the inside. This technique, sometimes known as ‘passing through the oil’ is one that is commonly employed in Chinese restaurants and produces a result that is difficult to duplicate otherwise. As the shreds become done, remove from the oil and transfer to a bowl for the time being.

When you are ready for the final cooking, drain all but two tablespoons of oil from the wok and turn up the heat to a high flame. Add the garlic and the white parts of the scallion and, as soon as the aroma arises, throw in the mushroom and stir fry until they are cooked through.

Finally, add the beef and the green parts of the scallion, sauté for a minute or so longer and then stir in the sauce mixture. Allow this to bubble and thicken and then serve immediately.

The Verdict

This dish is just one variation on a type I cook regularly and turned out largely as I expected. My only criticism is that it was a little light on saltiness, but this was fairly easily rectified with some soy sauce at the table. If you try this dish, you may wish to add a little extra salt, or light soy, at the same time you add the sauce mixture. Other than that, my wife and I enjoyed this meal very much…

 

13 Comments

  1. Mmm, I want to try that! What cut of beef do you recommend using? What kind of wine would be good to substitute for Shaoxing wine? (I’m in L.A. at the moment and not near Chinatown).

    0
    1. I used a fairly nicely marbled strip-steak as I recall. You could substitute a dry sherry for the Shaoxing … or a Japanese sake.

      0
  2. I have the same question. It is not easy to fry beef and the cut is important.

    0
    1. Choose any cut you would pan-fry… a little marbling is nice otherwise it will be a bit dry.

      0
  3. One more question – if the oil is at the right temperature, around how long does the beef “pass through” the oil, just a few seconds? Around how long? I have a pretty good idea of how hot the oil should be from other asian cooking I’ve done, but no experience with this technique on pre-frying beef.

    0
    1. less than thirty seconds or so generally …. you just want it to be cooked on the very outside while still underdone on the center.

      0
  4. Hi John, I like recipes like this. Thanks for sharing.
    A question about the ingredients: did you use chicken stock and dried shii take rather than beef stock and fresh shii take because that is what you had, or because there is a reason to prefer them?
    The cooking technique you used for the beef is also called velveting, right?

    0
    1. I rarely use beef stock and you almost never see it in Chinese cuisine at all. I much perfer dried shiitake… the fresh have no more flavor than regular button mushrooms to my mind, although the texture is nice…

      The technique is not really velveting … there, the coating is ‘wet’ and usually uses egg white. It would be very nice in this dish though 🙂

      0
      1. Hmmm that’s interesting, fresh shii take here definitely have a different and stronger flavor than regular button mushrooms.
        I can be quite a purist when it comes to Italian cuisine, but with Chinese I’m clueless so I would definitely use beef stock 🙂

        0
  5. I made this for supper tonight – it was fantastic! Thanks for the extra instructions you gave me. I found it too light on the salt too – especially since I accidentally left it out! We added soy sauce at the table and that helped, but I will make it again soon and put some in this time. I used flatiron steak, the butcher recommended that (and he was chinese). He said to cook the meat around 2.5 minutes, but I thought that was too long so I went with your 0.5 minute recommendation, it was tender and perfect. I used beef broth instead of chicken after reading Stefan’s comment above, since I used fresh shiitake’s.

    I hope you post some of the other dishes that you say you make regularly that are similar to this one, we loved it.

    0
    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it and that it worked out well for you…. You can use the same basic technique with other meats and ingredients and have lots of fun playing around with the same simple theme 🙂

      0

Leave a Reply to Nancy Cancel reply