Because of the warm climate in South China, tropical fruits abound, and it is not unusual to combine fruit with meat or poultry. Pineapples and mangoes are favorites with beef, affecting an appetizingly sweet-and-sour taste in the dish.
4 large rounds of fresh pineapple, ½inch thick, cored and cut into chunks
1poundrump steak or skirt, trimmed and cut across the grain into rectangular slices about ¾ x 1½ inches and ¼ inch thick
2 large garlic cloves, cut diagonally into thin slices
3scallions, cut into 1-inch sections, white and green parts separated
8 thin slices peeled fresh ginger, cut into very fine silky strips
1tablespoonShaoxing wine or medium-dry sherry
¾teaspooncornstarch dissolved in 2tablespoonswater
1tablespoonthick soy sauce
8 turns black pepper mill
2teaspoonsShaoxing wine or medium-dry sherry
Taste the pineapple for acidity, then add the salt and sugar accordingly. Mix well and leave to stand for 30 minutes or longer.
Marinate the beef. Add the salt, sugar, soy sauce, pepper, wine or sherry and cornstarch to the beef and stir in the same direction to coat. Add the water, 1tablespoonful at a time, stirring until completely absorbed before adding another spoonful. Leave to stand in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Blend in the oil.
Heat the wok over a high heat until smoke rises. Add 4tablespoons of the oil and swirl it around several times. Add the garlic, let sizzle, then add the white scallions and half of the ginger; stir to release their aroma. Add the beef and, sliding the wok scoop or a metal spatula to the bottom of the wok, turn and toss for about 30 seconds, or until the beef is partially cooked. Splash the wine or sherry around the side of the wok. When the sizzling subsides, remove the beef, still underdone, to a dish and keep warm nearby.
Add the remaining 1½tablespoons oil to the wok and swirl it around over a high heat. Add the remaining ginger, stir a few times, then add the pineapple. Push the pineapple to the edges and pour the well-stirred dissolved cornstarch into the center of the wok, continuing to stir as it thickens. Return the beef to the wok, add the green scallions, and stir to mix until thoroughly hot again. Remove onto a serving dish and serve immediately.