From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderfully simple stir-fry meal. While I make it throughout the year, this dish appears on my table more often in the fall because locally grown broccoli is so readily available. The dish has just two major ingredients, beef and broccoli, and it gets most of its flavor from the addition of oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is a thick, brown sauce with a sweet, salty, and earthy flavor and it is a major component of Asian cooking. True or not, the development of the sauce is credited to the owner of a small eatery that sold and cooked oysters. One day he smelled an especially strong aroma coming from the pot in which he cooked his oyster soup. He had lost track of time, and the soup, which was normally clear, had turned into a thick brown sauce. He liked its flavor well enough to begin selling it locally. It became very popular so this savvy businessman formed a company, called Lee Kum Kee, to mass produce it. While I can't vouch for the truth of the story, I can vouch for the flavor of this quick and simple Chinese-style stir-fry. I do hope you'll give this recipe, developed by Nancie McDermott, a try. All the ingredients needed to make this stir-fry can be found in any well-stocked grocery store and, if you don't overcook the broccoli, you're in for a quick and delicious meal. Here's how the dish is made.
Beef with Broccoli...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nancie McDermott
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce or molasses (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1/2 pound thinly sliced beef
3 cups broccoli florets
1) Combine chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, if using, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir to make a smooth sauce. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl.
2) Heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add garlic and ginger and toss until they release their fragrance.
3) Add beef, spreading it out into a single layer. Cook undisturbed until edges change color, about 30 seconds. Toss well, and then add broccoli florets. Cook 1 minute, tossing once, until they are shiny and bright green.
4) Add chicken stock mixture, pouring it in around the sides of pan. Cook, tossing often, until the broccoli is tender and the beef is done, 2 to 3 minutes.
5) Add cornstarch mixture to center of the pan. Toss to combine everything well, and as soon as sauce thickens, transfer to a serving plate. Serve hot or warm. Yield: 4 servings.
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