Today marks the beginning of the Chinese year of the rabbit. Apparently people born under this sign are gracious, kind and sensitive but can be moody, detached and stubborn.
I don’t know a lot about the Chinese zodiac, I prefer to know more about Chinese food really. We cook Chinese food at least once a week, often more, and can regularly be found in a Chinese supermarket trying to work out what we’re buying.
We tend to make up a lot of what we’re cooking; throw some meat, veg, noodles and chillies together and you can usually make a decent meal, but one recipe we do loosely follow is this one for beef in oyster sauce.
- 350g/12oz beef fillet
- light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- pinch sugar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- groundnut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped
- 200g/7oz baby spinach leaves
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- pinch dried chilli flakes
- 100g/3½oz oyster mushrooms
- dash Chinese black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- Hammer the beef with a meat mallet or rolling pin until half as thin. Slice the beef into thin pieces and place into a bowl, then season with a tsp light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a wok until smoking and add one tablespoon of the groundnut oil, then add the garlic and chilli. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the spinach leaves and toss for a few seconds, until warmed through. Pile onto a large serving plate.
- Place the wok back on the heat and add more oil, then add the beef slices and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the beef is cooked to your liking. Pour in the Shaoxing rice wine and sprinkle over the dried chilli flakes. Pile the beef over the spinach leaves.
- For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil in the wok and add the oyster mushrooms, stir frying for one minute. Add a small splash of water to create some steam to help the mushrooms cook, then season, to taste, with the black rice vinegar and light soy sauce.
- Spoon the oyster mushrooms over the beef and serve.
This recipe serves 2, obviously if there are more of you adjust the quantities.
As I said above, I only loosely follow this recipe. Sometimes we use ready diced beef, sometimes we miss the fresh chillies and just use chilli flakes. It’s quite adaptable really.
Do let me know what you think if you try it.