• Beef, Tomato and Pepper Stir-Fry

    Instead of tomatoes, bell pepper, and salted beans, try broccoli, green beans or bok choy with fresh ginger (or whatever combinations you enjoy).  Chinese salted black beans are actually fermented small black soybeans preserved in salt. The prepared beans are then packed in small cans or plastic bags. (I found mine in the canned goods section next to the coconut milk.)  They are quite salty and flavorful. Soak the beans for about 30 minutes in cold water and drain before using.  Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a year.  Many brands of oyster sauce do contain MSG, but be sure to read labels because all-natural brands and MSG-free oyster sauces do exist.  Different varieties of soy sauce can also be found if you look hard enough, i.e.: low sodium, GMO-free, fermented, organic, gluten-free, etc.

    Beef, Tomato and Pepper Stir-Fry (Fan Ke Ngow Yuk) from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook


    • 1 pound round steak
    • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
    • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 clove garlic, smashed with large knife
    • 2 teaspoons Chinese salted black beans, rinsed  and drained
    • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 8 to 10 wedges and separated
    • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 10 to 12 strips
    • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
    • 2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water to form a slurry
    • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges


    Handle the beef partially frozen that it is easier to cut (if it’s fresh, place in the freezer for about 30 minutes).  cut the beef along the grain into 1 1/2-inch-thick strips.  Then, with your knife at an angle almost parallel to the cutting surface, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

    In a medium bowl, toss the beef with the rice wine, oyster sauce, sugar and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  Cover the bowl and let the meat marinate in the refrigerate for 10 minutes, or up to 12 hours.

    Preheat a large wok or skillet with 1 tablespoon oil.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.  Discard the garlic (you just want to flavor the oil).  Add the salted black beans and onion and stir for 1 minute.  Add the bell pepper and celery and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes.  Set aside in a bowl.

    In the same skillet, swirl in the remaining oil and heat over high heat.  Divide the marinated meat into 4 batches.  Stir-fry one back for about 2 minutes (don’t worry if the meat is still a little pink-if will be cooked longer and you don’t want to overcook the meat), and set aside on a plate.  Repeat with the remaining batches of meat.

    Return the cooked vegetables to the skillet over high heat.  Add the cooked meat and stir everything about 1 minute.  Stir the cornstarch slurry and add to the skillet.  Toss to coat the meat and vegetables evenly.  Cook until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.  Continue tossing until heated through, about another minute.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Serve immediately.

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