Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spicy Crispy Beef
beta version-- I expect to refine this, which will eliminate some of the question marks. Also, I would be tempted to make an even bigger batch of the sauce because it is delicious.

Beef, cut into thin strips -- about 8 oz for 2 moderate servings
Veggies: I used mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onions, sliced. You can use as many veggies as you want!
Sauce: Soy sauce, about 1/2 cup? ; water or stock, about a cup?; dash of Worcestershire sauce, about 2 T sweet red chili paste, dash of hot chili oil; minced garlic, about 4 cloves worth; crystallized ginger (minced or diced, about a tablespoon or more) -- or use grated fresh ginger, not ginger powder, but then plan on adding honey or sugar, maybe brown sugar. You need to keep tasting this as you mix it up so you have it as spicy and sweet as you want but not more than you want!
Cornstarch -- lots.  Maybe as much as 1 cup, although it doesn't all get used.??
Peanut oil or canola oil -- something with high smoke point -- for frying. About 1/2 Cup?

Put water on to boil for rice. In saucepan, it takes 2 cups water for 1 cup long-grain white rice.When it boils, reduce to simmer, cover, stir occasionally. Or use rice cooker.  Long-grain rice takes 20 minutes in saucepan, so meanwhile you can do the rest.

Cut up the beef and veggies.
Mix up the sauce and marinate the beef strips in it for about an hour. Optional waiting period, but worth it.
Pull out the beef strips, keeping the sauce, preferably in a microwave-safe vessel, and dredge or toss the beef in cornstarch to thoroughly coat. Let sit and dredge again to ensure complete coverage.
Put about 1/2 inch - 3/4 inch of oil in cast iron skillet (or use a wok) and heat until a piece of beef sizzles immediately on hitting the pan. Fry the beef in batches -- about 1/2 at a time in a 12-inch skillet. Set aside.
Add veggies to skillet. I had some cornstarch left in my dredging bowl, so I gave the veggies a quick toss there, too. Cook until tender but not soggy, just a minute or two. Remove from pan.
Thoroughly heat the sauce; I start in microwave and then in the pan; when it is bubbling in the pan, add the beef and veggies back in.

Serve over rice, or if you prefer, as I often do, noodles or couscous.

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This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.