Whenever I ask G what I should cook for dinner, his answer is usually "Anything. I leave it to you". I guess I'm fortunate to have a husband who eats anything and everything, which leaves me free to cook whatever I'm in the mood for, even when it's the result of a cooking disaster, he will not waste food as long as it's edible. If he had to name a dish for me to cook, it's always the standard two dishes - "Sweet and sour pork" or "Broccoli Beef". I reckon he feels a little nostalgic when it comes to these two as they were his favourite chinese takeouts during his college days.
Well, I decided to indulge him and cook him the best broccoli beef ever. I tenderised the thinly shaved beef slices with some baking soda, marinated them for a couple of hours and seared the meat in a wok on high heat. The main component of the sauce was oyster sauce, but the special ingredient which gave it that intense smoky flavour was Pearl River Brand Superior dark soy sauce (This should not be confused with thick caramel, which is a thick dark sweetish soy).
I was happy with how my dish turned out. When G looked at it, he said "The one I had was in Berkeley was a Taiwanese version, which was a lighter colour. This looks like the Hongkong version, but it looks good". Well, after the taste test, his verdict was "This tastes like it came from a Hongkong restaurant". Gee, that sounded better than I expected. But I have to shamelessly agree that it was tasty indeed.
For all fans of broccoli beef, ditch the takeout menu and try this easy recipe at home.
Broccoli Beef Recipe
300g rump steak
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 1/2 cups water
1 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cornflour + 1 tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp Pearl River Superior Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
2 tsp cornflour
Sauce (combine in a bowl):
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2-3 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp chinese black vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup water
Bring a pot of water to the boil and add some salt and a few drops of vegetable oil. Blanch the broccoli for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Remove and refresh it under cold running water. Drain and arrange on a serving plate. Set aside.
Slice the beef very thinly. In order to do this, pop the beef in the freezer for 4-6 hours until almost frozen so that it's easier to shave the beef into thin long strips. Place the sliced beef in a bowl and add the baking soda solution. Mix well and set aside. After 30 minutes, drain the liquid and rinse the beef with tap water. Drain off the excess water, squeezing the beef if necessary until it's dry. Then, combine the beef with the marinade and leave it for an hour or so.
Heat up 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a wok. When it's very hot, add the beef and toss to fry the pieces evenly. When the beef is browned and cooked, remove and set aside. Drain off any excess oil and leave 1 tbsp of oil in the wok.
In the same wok, fry the ginger and garlic for 30 seconds on medium-high heat, then add the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Add the beef and toss to coat in the sauce. Push the beef aside and add the cornflour solution, stirring the sauce until it simmers again. When the sauce thickens and reduces slightly to a gravy, turn off the heat. Pour the beef and gravy over the blanached broccoli. Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice. Enjoy!