If you watch the Discovery Travel & Living Channel, you might have come across Kylie Kwong’s cooking show. Kylie Kwong is an Australian restauranteur of Chinese descent. She created rather eclectic dishes on the first season of her show, then, she traveled to China and Hong Kong apparently in a “search for roots” kind of mission and tried her hand at cooking Chinese dishes. Not the modern/fusion kind this time but the peasant cooking kind.
One thing I noticed about her “Chinese” dishes was how she seemed to be using the same combination of seasonings for almost every dish she made. It was always black vinegar, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and a bit of sugar. More than once, I wondered if those were the only Oriental seasonings she was familiar with. I tried the combination, found out it was actually good, although I wouldn’t recommend that you use the same combination for every stir fried dish you cook.
Beef, mushroom and celery stir fry
- 250 grams sukiyaki cut beef cut into one-inch wide pieces
- 1 tablespoon black vinegar (available in Asian stores)
- 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 to 3 celery ribs
- 1 onion or 2 shallots
- 200 grams mushrooms (any kind, really)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons peanut or soya oil
- First, marinate the beef. Place the meat in a bowl, pour in the soy sauce, wine, black vinegar, sugar and some pepper. Mix. Add the cornstarch and mix to coat each piece of meat well.
- Prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice the onion or shallots. Slice the mushrooms, Cut the celery ribs diagonally into one-inch lengths.
- If you’re not using a non-stick pan, heat the pan before adding the oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Why that is so, I don’t know. But, trust me, it works. So, heat the oil and, when smoking hot, add the beef and stir fry, separating the pieces as you do, just until the meat starts to change color.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir fry for two to three minutes or until the vegetables are done but not overcooked. The term tender-crisp has been used to describe this ideal texture of vegetables in a stir fry. It isn’t easy to determine when exactly the vegetables get to that stage but if you’ve been stir frying for a long time, you’d know. And if you practice stir frying enough, you’d find out too.
- Turn off the heat and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the cooked beef, mushroom and celery stir fry to a dish and serve hot.