Black Bean Beef with Bell Peppers
- 1/2lb. Beef;
- 1 cup Mixed Bell Peppers, sliced in thin julienne;
- 2 tbsp. Garlic, coarsely chopped;
- 2 tbsp. Salted Black Beans;
- ¼ cup Shaoxing Wine, or other rice wine or dry Sherry;
- 2 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tbsp. Soy Sauce;
- 1 tsp. Cooking Oil, plus one cup for frying;
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda;
- 3 tbsp. Water
- 1 tbsp. Cornstarch.
Slice the beef into thick julienne across the grain and then mix in a bowl with the soy sauce, baking soda and the 1 teaspoon of oil. This latter will help the pieces separate later during frying.
I am using a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers but you can use all one sort, or a different mix. Personally, I avoid using the green variety unless the cooking time is very short and of low temperature as long cooking and very high temperatures ruin the color and the taste in my experience.
Soak the black beans in just enough water to cover until they soften a little. Rinse them well and chop coarsely leaving some whole. Mix the water and cornstarch together to make a slurry and then add the wine and sugar. Set this aside to use a sauce later.
Bring a cup of oil to a shimmering heat in your wok over a moderate flame and fry the beef slices in two batches just until the pieces are nicely browned on the outside but still tender in the middle. A minute or so will suffice. Remove the meat to a bowl for now and then pour off all but a tablespoon of oil from the wok.
Turn up the flame and, when the oil is smoking hot, add the pepper slivers and flash-fry until the skin starts to blister a little. Now add back the beef along with the garlic and black beans. Stir and toss until the garlic is translucent and then pour in the sauce. Stir to thicken and clear and serve immediately.
Shaoxing Wine and Black Beans complement each other very nicely and, here, they worked very well with the beef and peppers. You could substitute oyster sauce for the black beans if you can’t find them but, if you do have an opportunity to try these, you should really give this dish a try…