Quick and delicious, stir-fried beef with oyster sauce provides a great introduction to Chinese cooking. This one “from column A” can be prepared in less than half an hour including rice. If you don’t have a wok, make it in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Don’t make it in a non-stick skillet as you can’t get it hot enough.
By the way, stir-frying is a misnomer as there is no stirring in stir-frying. The technique is to lift the ingredients with your spatula and turn them over. As you continue from different angles, all the food gets seared from contact with the hottest part of the wok. Make the rice first.
¾ lb. steak (flank or boneless strip)
1 T soy sauce (preferably tamari)
2 sweet peppers
1 large onion
1 t cornstarch
2 T oyster sauce
pinch of salt
Peanut oil as needed
1. Slice steak against the grain into bite-size strips. Place in a bowl and mix with soy sauce. Set aside.
2. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers and julienne into bite-size strips.
3. Cut onion into thin slices
4. Make a slurry of cornstarch and water. Mix in oyster sauce.
5. Heat wok to very hot but not smoking. Add 1 T oil. Stir fry pepper strips until tender and slightly seared. Add a wee pinch of salt to peppers and onions as thy cook.) Dish into serving bowl.
6. Add 1 T oil into hot wok. Stir fry onions until lightly browned. Add to serving bowl.
7. Again, add 1 T oil to hot wok. Stir fry steak until cooked through.
8. Return peppers and onions to wok. Stir fry with meat for 15 seconds.
9. Make a “well” in center of hot wok and add slurry. Stir fry until ingredients are coated.
10. Serve alongside a bowl of steaming hot rice.
Chinese rice (makes 3 cups cooked rice)
1 cup long grain white rice
1 ¾ cup cold water
1. Rinse rice in several changes of cold water until it runs clear.
2. Place water and rice in a 2-quart pan with a tight-fitting cover. (I add a pinch of salt but this is not traditional.)
3. Bring to a boil without cover. Turn heat to low and cook with cover at a bare simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Let rest until the rest of your meal is ready to serve. Fluff rice with fork and serve hot. (Resist the temptation to peek at the rice before it is ready to serve.)
Photos by Michael Kirigin