Beef with Oyster Sauce

We have been trying to eat more healthy for the past year, so we have been cutting down on red meat.  However, once in a while, I get this irresistible craving for a good steak or anything beef.  I would feel hungry all the time and that hunger would not be satisfied unless I ate meat. Sound familiar?  This is a very common Chinese dish and it doesn’t require a lot of beef but it hits the spot for me.  It is also quick and easy to cook and goes so well with rice.

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1 lb beef (flank steak or sirloin steak)
2 slices ginger

Marinade for beef:
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp water

Seasoning sauce:
2 Tbsp oyster sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand Premium Oyster Sauce)
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 lb green vegetable eg lettuce or baby bok choy

Method:
1. Slice the beef thinly into 1 inch squares. (I use pre-sliced sukiyaki beef from the Japanese supermarket because I am lazy!)
2. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Marinate the beef for at least 1 hour. Add in 1 tsp cooking oil and mix well.
3. Wash and boil the green vegetables in boiling water for 2 mins. Drain and arrange the vegetables on a serving dish.
4. Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning sauce in a small bowl and put aside.
5. Heat up 1-2 Tbsp cooking oil and ginger in a frying pan and quickly saute the beef on high heat until it turns light brown, about 10 to 20 seconds. Turn off the heat and stir in the seasoning sauce immediately. It is ok to turn off the heat even when the beef slices are still slightly pink in the center part (95% cooked) because the residual heat from the frying pan will continue to cook it.
6. Pour the beef over the green vegetables and serve with rice.

Miso Grilled Codfish

I saw this recipe in the newspaper a while ago and it reminded me of a mouthwatering dish I had eaten at a fancy Japanese restaurant.  I found the original recipe a bit too sweet and too salty at the same time, so I modified the recipe by reducing the amount of miso paste and sugar.  I like this version a lot better and besides cod is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and it is wonderfully buttery when cooked.   You will need a few specialty Japanese ingredients but they are worth getting and keeping in your fridge.   This makes an easy, elegant dinner for guests or a quick main dish for a lazy, rainy day.

Grilled Miso Cod fish

2  black cod fillets (about 1.5 to 2 cm thickness)

Marinade:

1/2 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp white miso paste (actually brownish in color)
1/2 tsp sugar

Method:

1.  Wash and pat dry the cod fillets and put aside.

2.  Line a baking dish with aluminium foil,  with extra foil hanging outside the dish.

3.  In a small bowl, make a paste with the sake, mirin, miso paste and sugar.

4.  Brush both sides of  the cod fillets with the paste and place it in the baking dish.  Cover it with the remainder of the aluminium foil.

Allow the fillets to soak in the marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

5.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Open the aluminium covering to expose the cod fillets and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top browns and blackens in spots.

Green Radish and Carrot Soup

It has been raining practically every day.  This month could be the wettest December here in several years.  We don’t have a winter season, it is called the monsoon season.  It is usually hot and sunny in the morning followed by mid-day thundery showers that last well into the evening rush hour.  The weather report says that the amount of rain recorded for the four days of December alone is already half that seen for the entire month last year!  I think my mint plant has become the latest casualty of this rainy season.

So, my thoughts have turned to making soup.  It’s light and healthy and a perfect accompaniment to tonight’s meal of miso grilled codfish, stir fried vegetables and rice.

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1 lb lean pork
1 lb green radish
1 lb carrots
2 honey dates
4 red dates
2 dried figs
1 Tbsp Chinese south almonds (optional)
1 Tbsp Chinese north almonds (optional)
10 cups of water

Method:

1. Cut the pork into slices of 1/2 inch thickness.  Boil a small pot of water to blanch the pork slices.  Drain and set the pork aside.

2. Peel the green radish and carrots.  Wash and cut into chunks of 1 inch thickness.

3. Rinse the honey dates, red dates, figs, north and south almonds and set aside.

4. Put all the ingredients into a big pot and add 10 cups of water.  Cook on high heat and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat and let it simmer on low heat for one to one and half hours.  Add salt to taste and serve hot.

Note:  North and south almonds can be found in Chinese grocery shops. They are actually apricot kernels. They don’t add any discernible flavor to the soup but are common ingredients in traditional soups – they are supposed to relieve internal heat and soothe coughs.

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