STIR-FRIED BEEF WITH BLACK BEANS & NOODLES
Stir-frying is a cooking style even more dramatic and action-packed than a braai, although the hardened braai mechanics out there will disagree. To them I say, “Read on, brothers.” For he who masters stir-frying, be it in wok or skottel, is in touch with mighty cosmic forces in which relatively little time turns meat, fish, chicken, eggs and vegetables into a great meal. Here’s another classic from Cantonese-influenced cuisine, complete with black beans, which are an optional extra of startling flavour.
To feed four diners, you will need:
200g Chinese egg noodles
600g topside beef
75mm fresh root ginger
2 large green sweet peppers
1 big carrot
100ml beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons canola, sunflower or peanut oil
2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
5 drops sesame oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
½ teaspoon Maizena
2 tablespoons Chinese black beans (optional)
If stir-fry cooking IS GOING TO become a regular feature amongst your cooking skills, it pays to get the right tools. And they are: a heavy Chinese stainless steel cleaver, a slotted spoon and a wok. A skottel is an adequate compromise. Next comes the choice of heat and a big gas flame is the answer. Cantonese-influenced cooking demands high, quick heat, so gas is the only way to go.
We begin by peeling and then finely chopping the fresh ginger. Top, tail and de-pip the green peppers, then carefully cut them into equally sized sections. Do the same with the onions and the carrot. Slice the topside into equally sized thin slices.
Unpack the black beans and measure out two tablespoons. These can be bought from Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t get them, don’t worry. As previously stated on the list of ingredients, they’re optional.
Measure out the oyster sauce, sesame oil and soya sauce, taking care with the sesame oil which has a powerful flavour and is very easy to overdo.
Take a high-quality stock cube – either chicken or beef – and mix with boiling water. Add a little water to the Maizena and mix it into a smooth paste.
Okay, now it’s action stations! Pour the oil into the wok and get it smoking hot. Throw in the minced ginger and let it stir-fry for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat marginally,
then add the onions, carrot and sweet peppers. Keep these sectioned vegetables moving to avoid burning. With the slotted spoon, remove and set aside in a covered bowl after 60 seconds. Check the oil, add a little more if needed.
Let it get really hot, then add the meat for 20 to 30 seconds, stir like crazy, then marginally lower the heat and return all the cooked vegetables plus the black beans to the wok.
Add the sauces and the stock. Let it all bubble away for a minute then thicken the sauce with the Maizena, adding a little at a time until the desired thickness is achieved. Serve at once in large bowls over freshly boiled noodles, which you have prepared following the simple instructions on the packet. Provide additional soya sauce for those diners who crave a sodium overload.
– David Basckin |fw