Oh, the things you can do with sukiyaki-cut beef! And bacon-cut pork, for that matter. Marinating takes a few minutes and cooking time is even shorter. They’re great with stir fries, with noodles and even with soup. They’re a big favorite these days. The mornings are cold and getting up to fix the kids’ packed school lunch can be such an effort when staying in bed under the blanket feels so much better. A good strategy is to place the frozen beef or pork in the fridge where the meat will thaw overnight. The next morning, it’s ready to go into the wok.
Too little time in the kitchen does not always have to result in opening a can or heating a frozen meal. Take this stir-fried dish with shiitake mushrooms and tofu, for instance. Cooking time was less than 30 minutes. I timed myself. The exact cooking time, including preparation, was 27 minutes and 45 seconds. Wanna try it?
- 200 grams sukiyaki-cut beef
- 1 cake firm tofu
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups cooking oil
- 3 to 4 shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 head garlic
- 4 shallots
- 1 bunch onion leaves
- 5 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon tapioca starch or corn starch dispersed in 1 c. of broth or water
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground pepper
Heat the cooking oil in a wok.
Wash the tofu under the tap and cut into 1-inch cubes. When the cooking oil is hot (it’ll start to smoke to signal it’s ready), deep-fry the tofu cubes until golden. This will take a couple of minutes.
While the tofu is frying, cut the beef into 1-inch wide strips. Place in a bowl, pour in the soy sauce and oyster sauce and mix with your hand, working the sauces into the meat.
Crush the garlic, shake off the skins and roughly chop.
Peel and finely slice the shallots.
Cut the onion leaves into 1-inch lengths.
Cut off the stems of the shiitake mushrooms and discard. Slice the caps thinly.
By this time, the tofu will have a golden brown crust. Scoop out from the oil, place on a plate and keep warm.
Pour off the oil from the wok, leaving only about two tablespoonfuls. Reheat until smoking. Add the beef (there’s very little liquid marinade so there’s really nothing to reserve), stirring fast to separate the slices. Cook just until the meat changes color. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, for about 10 seconds. Add the mushrooms and tofu. Sprinkle generously with ground pepper. Add the sugar. Pour in the starch solution and cook until the sauce is thick and clear, about 10 seconds.
Stir in the onion leaves. Add salt as needed.
You’re done cooking.
The amount of water will vary depending on the kind of starch you use. Tapioca starch is stickier and makes a thicker sauce than corn starch.
If you’re using dried mushrooms, you’ll have to soak them in hot water even before you start cooking. This is the only part that can take time. Large mushrooms will require soaking for at least 20 minutes.