Cantonese Ginger Beef

Chinese Entree

CANTONESE GINGER BEEF

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¾ pound sirloin steak or flank steak
2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mirin or rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

¼ cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
¾ teaspoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

1½” ginger root
3 scallions or green onions
1 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

wok (optional, not to be confused with an EwokTM. Although having an Ewok would be cool.)

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Cut steak against the grain into as thin as possible slices. Cut these slices into 1″ squares. Add all marinade ingredients to large mixing bowl. Stir with hands until cornstarch is no longer visible and steak squares are well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

While steak marinates, Add all sauce ingredients to small mixing bowl. Stir with fork until cornstarch is no longer visible.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel ginger root. Cut ginger root into thin strips or rounds. Cut scallions into ½” long pieces. Add peanut oil and marinated steak squares to wok. Sauté at medium-high for 3 minutes or until steak squares brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Remove steak squares and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from work.

Add ginger strips and scallion pieces to work. Sauté for 30 seconds. Stir frequently. Return steak squares and add sauce to wok. Stir fry using medium-high heat until liquid starts to boil and steak squares are cooked through. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) America has the Easter Bunny. It is both a symbol of the Resurrection and of fertility.

2) Britain also has the Easter Bunny.

3) The Easter originally came to America from Germany.

4) But Germany hasn’t really celebrated the Easter Bunny for a long time.

5) Germany also started two world wars.

6) Coincidence? Perhaps.

7) Australia doesn’t have an Easter Bunny either. In 1859 or so, someone released rabbits into the wilds. The rabbits bred like rabbits. Soon, rabbits were displacing all sorts of native critters and munching acres upon acres of crops. Farmers hated that. So, Australia periodically wages a campaign against the rabbit hordes. But the rabbits keep coming back. Farmers still hate them.

8) Thus, the land Down Under doesn’t have an Easter Bunny. It has the Easter tilby. A tilby looks a bit like a rabbit. The tilby has great sex, producing eight babies a year. This number is apparently, less than what the rabbit can do. But even so, the Easter tilby isn’t as celebrated as the Easter Bunny is in other lands.

9) America, Britain, Germany, and even Australia aren’t the only nations with a rabbitish animal celebrating fertility.

10) Oh no, the Cantonese region of China honors fecundity through cattle.

11) What is the singular form of cattle? Technically, there isn’t one. However, extensive research –Watching hours of the TV show Rawhide–gives us “beeves” as an alternative word for “cattle.” “Beef” is the singular form of “Beeves.” There you go.

12) It might seem strange for a beef to symbolize fertility. Would a bee have been a much better representative for reproduction?

13) Yes, it would have. Except that in 1884, a British newspaper, The Lion, wrote an article about Canton’s annual Bee Festival. Only The Lion didn’t say that. A misprint turned the celebration into the Beef Festival.

14) Hundreds of thousands of tourists thronged Canton to honor beef., spending millions of pounds while there. The Cantonese government knowing a good thing when they saw it, officially renamed the event, The Beef Festival. Local restaurateurs developed this dish to serve their British guests. Now you know.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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