Beef is an American favourite, but it has never been popular among the Chinese. Meats, in any case, are never the centrepiece of Chinese meals. A small quantity of meat or seafood serves to enliven and diversify the various dishes, which are dominated by vegetables and grains. In many Chinese dishes, vegetables overwhelm the meat.
This popular Chinese restaurant dish - beef with broccoli - illustrates the Chinese approach; it could as well be called ‘broccoli with beef’. In the West, however, rather more beef is used than would be customary in China.
The simple stir-fried dish is admirable for its freshness and completeness. Chinese-American chefs fairly quickly adopted the slightly sweet Western broccoli and paired it with the always popular beef for a mouth-watering combination.
Separate the broccoli florets; peel the stalks and thinly slice on the diagonal. Blanch the broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and plunge into cold water. Drain thoroughly.
Cut the steak in half lengthways, then into thin slices 5 cm (
Heat a wok or deep pan until it is very hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and smoking, add the beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and drain off all but
Reheat the wok, toss in the garlic and black beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then pour in the chicken stock, the dark soy sauce and
Transfer the contents to a large platter and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.