Woohoo! Who’s excited for our first Asian recipe here on this blog??
We had this dish for lunch one Saturday when my mom ran out of things to make. She spotted some beef she marinated and a bunch of chive flowers and BAM– in a matter of minutes, she created this delicious and colorful dish. Because really– that’s what cooking is all about isn’t it?
How was everybody’s Thanksgiving by the way (if you’re American)? We spent ours in Minnesota with some relatives, had a bit (a LOT) to eat, and it was all very very good- even if we had to turkey (!!).
However, after a couple days of delicious food (i.e., tiramisu and cheesecake for breakfast… yes… I said breakfast) my family and I were ready to eat something ching, something “clear”. Like something healthy- steamed broccoli, or jook, or something that contains no cream, excess oil, or, frankly, flavors. This is where this dish comes in.
To make this dish, you have to understand the basic marinade for basically all Cantonese cooking called heen. It’s just a mixture of soy sauce, salt, sugar, and cornstarch, with an addition of sesame oil and white pepper at the end. Is there a recipe for this? No. Not really. It’s by feel, and sometimes, smell. And experience. But for those people that cannot cook without a recipe, here it is:
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pinch of sugar
- 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp of water
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- couple shakes of white pepper
- Mix together soy sauce, salt, sugar, and cornstarch and water. Done! (the sesame oil and white pepper is added at the very end, right before the dish is plated up)
You use this to marinade basically all meats, and also to thicken and add flavor to stir-fries. I can’t really think up of many Cantonese dishes that don’t use this. If you don’t get the perfect blend the first time, “try, try again!” as Mrs. Frizzle would say (Magic Schoolbus anyone?) It took me over a year to “feel” the marinade correctly. And even now I mess it up. But my family is gracious and eats whatever I mess up anyway (unless it was that horrid time I tried to make egg drop soup…)
Now onto the actual dish. It’s a real nice contrast between the two ingredients– the soft, juicy beef against the crunch of the chives; the hearty color of beef mingling with the bright vibrant green of the chives; the robustness of the beef singing with the clean elegance of the chives.
Oh my, just wait until you try this. It’s a real treat.
Beef and Chives
- 1/3 lb thinly sliced beef
- 1 bunch of chive flowers
- 2 tsp oil (we use peanut for the high smoke point)
- heen ingredients (soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, white pepper)
- 2 tbsp of water
- Marinate the beef with the garlic in the heen mixture (soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, white pepper, and a tiny bit of water) for at least 30 min (overnight is best).
- Chop up the chive flowers into 2 inch sticks. soy sauce corn starch sugar dash of white pepper and
- Set a wok on the stove and crank the heat up to the highest possible. Add oil (there should be ribbons in the oil from the heat)
- Sear the beef until brown on both sides. Add the chives on top of the beef and then add water. Cover the wok.
- Let cook for 2 minutes, then open and stir it around. mix together some soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch with some water and pour over the beef and chives. Stir it around and add sesame oil and white pepper. Adjust seasoning if needed.