Stir this one up…

25 Mar

My dad got me hooked on Chinese food at a very young age. John’s Number One Son Restaurant in Minneapolis was a Sunday night family favorite, and for special occasions, the Nankin in downtown Minneapolis. While I do a decent job of recreating many of my favorite Chinese dishes, I’m always on the lookout for more tricks of the trade. This recipe which I found in Chinese Cooking Lessons (1977) by Constance D. Chang suggested a prepping technique I’ve never encountered before – using baking powder to tenderize the meat. End result was super tender meat with a delicious coating and sauce. My dad would be proud. Belated thank you for the cookbook, Dad!

Stir-Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce

⅔ pound sirloin or top round beef, thinly sliced*

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sherry

5 tablespoons oil (I used scant 3)

1-inch piece fresh ginger**, chopped finely

½ green onion, chopped finely (I used half a medium yellow onion)

Dust the beef with the baking powder and let sit for 1 hour. (Baking powder tenderizes the meat.) Then coat the beef with a mixture of cornstarch, oyster sauce and rice wine and let sit for another hour. Heat the oil, and stir-fry the onion and ginger. Add the undrained meat, and stir-fry quickly over high heat for 2 minutes.

*Slicing frozen beef will give you the thinnest possible slices. Let defrost enough so that you can safely slice through the beef.

**I keep a piece of ginger wrapped in aluminum foil in the freezer. When I need it, I peel the brown skin with a vegetable peeler then grate the frozen ginger with a microplane fine grater.

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