Monday, November 24, 2008

40. Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Date Cooked: November 16, 2008
Page: 436
Rating: A

I must really start writing these recipes closer to when I actually cook them. Or at least begin taking notes. I have to burn 100 of calories just trying to get my brain to remember what happened during the cooking process. Since I am getting more confident in the kitchen there are fewer “memorable” moments to really jog my memory. Thankfully my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated online helps since most of the recipes are there.

The recipe begins with slicing the flank steak and marinating it. I was always under the impression that flank steak was a cheap cut of meat that wasn’t good for many dishes. I really under-appreciated this cut. It also wasn’t that cheap. I sliced the flank steak into short strips and then marinated it in soy sauce for about an hour. The book suggests 10 minutes to an hour but I used the time to prepare the rest of the ingredients and a few other things around the kitchen so it got a full hour. I believe that the longer it soaks that more delicious flavor it traps.

While the beef was bathing I mixed the sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil ( I confess I didn’t have any sesame oil so I added a splash of peanut oil), and cornstarch. In a separate bowl I mixed garlic, ginger and oil. One of the tips I read while drifting around the food blogosphere was to freeze the ginger and then grate the frozen ginger as needed. What an awesome tip and it works so well!

With everything in place it was time to start cooking. As with most stir-fry type dishes, prep is all the work and bringing it together is fast. The flank steak was drained of the marinating liquid and then seared for a few minutes until browned around the edges. This was set aside to rest while the broccoli was cook covered in the pan until it steamed for a few minutes. The broccoli was set aside and the red pepper was cooked until just starting to brown. In went the garlic and ginger until fragrant before everything was re-added to the pan along with the sauce. The sauce was given a short time to thicken before it was plated to serve.

Rating: A. This is a solid stir-fry dish and I have always been a fan of beef and broccoli. The idea of oyster sauce (and fish sauce for that matter), always concerned me but I am truly beginning to appreciate their flavor contribution to sauces. I also like adding sugar to the sauces as it helps bring out the often subtle flavors from other ingredients. As I had said earlier flank steak is under-appreciated but prepared properly it is a delicious cut of meat that is quick and simple to cook. I will probably be adding this recipe to a more frequent meal rotation.


  1. This is such a comfort food! I love this sort of stir fry, hot steamy jasmine rice after long day from work, especially in this weather. I am so glad about you using oyster sauce!! It sure has its own odd smell if you take a sniff of it, but it does kinda taste good once you use it, yeah?

  2. Sesame oil (at least the toasted stuff) is a flavoring agent, while peanut oil is just a cooking oil without a strong flavor. Sesame oil is great stuff that you might want to have around in future; I'm not sure what you'd replace it with, but you probably could have skipped the peanut oil


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