It all begins with sukiyaki-cut beef and the Indonesian soy sauce known as Kecap Manis. I love sukiyaki-cut beef because it cooks in seconds and is easy to eat especially out of the lunchbox.
Kecap Manis is a thick and syrupy sweet soy sauce that comes from Indonesia. Sweetened with palm sugar and flavored with star anise and other Oriental spices, its flavor is more complex than ordinary soy sauce. It’s great as a dipping sauce but works equally well as a marinade. You can buy it in most supermarkets or you can make your own.
Throw in some vegetables and you have a stir-fried dish that cooks in 15 minutes flat, including preparation time.
You will need about 100 grams of sukiyaki-cut beef (half of what you see in the topmost photo). Cut the beef into strips about half an inch wide. Place the beef in a bowl, add about two tablespoonfuls of Kecap Manis and mix until all the beef strips are coated with the sweet soy sauce.
Peel a medium-sized carrot and julienne (cut into matchsticks).
Next, trim about 50 grams of French beans (you can substitute Baguio beans) and cut into halves.
Crush, peel and mince two cloves of garlic. Peel and finely slice an onion.
Heat two to three tablespoonfuls of vegetable cooking oil in a frying pan.1 Add the beef and vegetables to the hot oil all at once. Sprinkle with salt and lots of freshly-ground pepper. Stir-fry over high heat for about two minutes or just until the beef changes color.2
Serve at once or pack in a lunch box. My older daughter Sam skipped school today because of a stomach ache. Duh, scary especially since, while cooking, the TV was on and there seems to be a diarrhea epidemic of sorts which usually comes with the rainy season. Anyway, what you see on the plate should have gone into Sam’s lunch box. That’s what she’ll have for lunch today.
1If you’re not using a non-stick pan: To prevent the beef from sticking to the pan, heat the pan before adding the oil then wait until the oil starts to smoke before throwing in the beef and vegetables.
2At this point, the vegetables will be tender crisp so the stir-fry is just perfect. Do not be tempted to cook everything longer; otherwise, the beef will turn dry and tough, and the veggies will turn soggy.