Thursday, February 12, 2009

Asian-ish Beef and Broccoli

I have only developed a taste, or even tolerance, for Asian food in the past couple of years. The problem is that a lot of Asian food, especially the Americanized kind, hits on two of my biggest food issues: sweet and savory together, and random bits of crunchy unknown veggies in my food. I realize this make me a freak, but I do not find the idea of sugared meat to be even slightly appealing. This means I don't like anything called "glazed" that is not a doughnut (and even then, eh), or anything called "sweet and sour" or "hot and sweet." If it's not dessert, I don't want it to be in any way sweet. So you see how that could be a problem with the Chinese takeout.

However, with a bit of experimenting, I've found a few things that I enjoy, and recently I've ventured into cooking some Asian-inspired dinners. Now, let's be clear. I do not in any way think these dishes are authentic, but they're generally quick, easy, and tasty. I made this a week or so and it was a hit. I've since made a version with chicken instead of the beef, and it was also good but slightly less flavorful.

1 lb (or more) beef stew meat
marinade of some sort
fresh garlic, minced
2-3 cups frozen broccoli florets
*other veggies like onions and sliced red peppers if desired
chicken broth (I buy the boxed kind that can stay in the fridge so you use as much as you need)
corn starch
Hoisin sauce
2 cups uncooked white rice
Soy sauce

I cut my stew meat into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Into a gallon-sized zip-lock bag, I put a little olive oil, a little dale's (beef marinade that is too salty and strong to use straight, but great if you add just a little to other stuff), some Asian five-spice powder, soy sauce, a dash of rice vinegar, and a little water, mixed it all up, tossed in the beef, and let it all sit for a while.

At cooking time, I put my rice on to cook. I recently read that adding a tbsp or two of rice vinegar to the cooking water significantly lowers the glycemic index rating of the rice, and I was all proud since I was already doing that because Warren told me to, and he knows how to make sushi. You can make more rice if your kids will eat a lot of it. Meanwhile, heat a little oil of some sort in a large skillet or wok. I don't own a wok yet, so I just used my big deep skillet. Mince your garlic and throw it into the oil, then about 30 seconds later, add your beef. When beef is browned on all sides, add some chicken broth, (we'll say a cup? I do not actually ever use a recipe and I don't measure anything, so...), about 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce, and the broccoli. Season as desired and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and broccoli is hot but not too soggy. Thicken broth with a little corn starch (follow the directions on the box for thickening liquids). That's it! Serve over rice with soy sauce and Rooster sauce on the side if you like it spicy.

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