Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Taste For The Asian

I’ve had a taste for Asian since the Shack attack last weekend.

P. F. Chang’s happens to make the best Mongolian beef and here is a recipe that is so close it is “almost” theirs. Serve it with wrinkled green beans and the cabbage recipe below. It’s also great with broccoli, which is the way it is served in the restaurant.

These are weekend only recipes when you are not counting calories. If you like Chinese food, you will love all of them.

They are also good for those who do not like their vegetables and meat mixed. I’m not naming names and if I didn’t like you so much, I would think that was really STRANGE!

Mongolian Beef
• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

• 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

• 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

• 1/2 cup soy sauce

• 1/2 cup water

• 3/4 cup dark brown sugar

• vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup)

• 1 lb flank steak

• 1/4 cup cornstarch

• 2 large green onions


Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Don't get the oil too hot.

Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.

Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4" thick bite-size slices. Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts.

Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (you may also use a skillet for this step as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil). Heat the oil over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking.

Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don't need a thorough cooking here since the beef is going to go back on the heat later.

Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.

After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.

Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute.

Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions.

Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate.

Here is great stir fry made with either beef or chicken. It’s very hot and spicy. I made it with beef and, as you can see in the photo, did not slice the beef up as thin as I should have. The flavor was great however and I had this with rice and sweet and sour cabbage.

The recipes that follow are from A Taste of Chinatown by Joie Warner. Just a note that every recipe I have ever tried from this cookbook has been outstanding.

Hot Orange Beef or Chicken

3/4 lb Boneless chicken thighs or flank steak


• 2 tb Water

• 1 ts Soy sauce

• 1 tb Cornstarch

• 1 ts Toasted sesame oil


• 1 tb Sugar

• 3 tb Hoisin sauce

• 1 tb Soy sauce

• 1 tb Rice wine vinegar

• 1 tb Dry sherry

• 1 tb Chili oil

• 1/4 ts Salt

• 1/2 ts Cornstarch

• 1 juice from an Orange

• 3 tb Vegetable oil

• 2 lg Garlic cloves; minced

• 20 Dried red chilies

• Orange peel

• 1 tb Toasted sesame oil
NOTE: for milder heat, leave chilies whole, for medium hot, break up half of them (use rubber gloves or plastic bags to protect hands while breaking them up), for hottest, break up all the chilies.

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl, stirring to mix thoroughly. Cut up meat into 1/2 inch pieces and add to marinade, tossing to coat. Marinate 2 to 24 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.

When ready to begin cooking: Combine seasoning liquid ingredients in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.

Have chilies, garlic and orange peel ready together on a small plate or bowl.

Give meat another toss to coat in the marinade.

Heat wok on high heat and add cooking oil. When hot, add chilies (including seeds), garlic and orange peel.Toss for 30 seconds or so, until fragrance is released and chilies begin to blacken.

Add the meat and stir fry for a minute or two, until well coated with the chili mixture.

Re-stir seasoning liquid and pour over meat. Toss for 1 minute or so, until glazed by the sauce.

Drizzle on 1 Tb sesame oil, stir, and transfer to heated serving platter.

Serve with rice and lots of Chinese vegetables like the Hot and Sour Cabbage recipe below.

This cabbage recipe is so good, my neighbor tries to eat it out of the pan before I even get it off the stove.

Hot and Sour Cabbage
• 1 lb Green cabbage

• 3 tb Vegetable oil

• 1 Clove garlic; minced

• 1 Dried red chilie; chopped

• 1/2 ts Szechuan peppercorns

• 1 Medium onion, thinly sliced

• 1 1/2 tb Sugar

• 1 1/2 tb Soy sauce

• 1 1/2 tb Rice vinegar

• 1 ts Sesame oil

• 1/2 ts Salt

• 1/2 ts Potato or cornstarch

Cut off base of cabbage; remove tough outer leaves. Quarter cabbage; cut out core. Cut leaves into approximately 1 x 1 1/2-inch pieces (I like mine thinly sliced). There should be about 4 cups of cabbage.

Combine seasoning liquid in a bowl.

Heat wok on high heat. Add oil; when hot, add garlic, chilies (including seeds), and peppercorns and cook a few seconds.

Add cabbage and onion; toss for 1 to 2 minutes or until color brightens from pale green to bright green. Do not overcook

Stir seasoning liquid into wok; toss a few seconds to combine. Immediately remove to a serving dish.

Simple to prepare, this crisp and crunchy vegetable is delicious and quite striking in appearance.

The secret is not to overcook the cabbage; add the sauce and remove it from the wok as soon as the color heightens.

Serves 4 to 6.

Bon Appetit!