chinese beef with the velvetine

Simple Steps to Marinate Meat for Stir-frying:

  1. Slice 500 g of meat thinly against the grain.
  2. Combine the meat with 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce,1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of cornflour.
  3. Marinate for at least 15 minutes and you are ready to go.

INGREDIENTSPrint Shopping List

1tablespoon plus ¼ cup water
¼teaspoon baking soda
1pound flank steak, trimmed, cut into 2- to 2 ½-inch strips with grain, each strip cut ­crosswise against grain into ¼-inch-thick slices
3tablespoons soy sauce
3tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
3teaspoons cornstarch
2 ½teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1tablespoon oyster sauce
2teaspoons rice vinegar
1 ½teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
3tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
6 scallions, white parts sliced thin on bias, green parts cut into 2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1tablespoon grated fresh ginger


The vegetables and aromatics can be prepared while the beef is marinating. Serve with steamed white rice.

1. Combine 1 tablespoon water and baking soda in medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.

2. Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon sugar together in small bowl. Add soy sauce mixture to beef, stir to coat, and let sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Whisk remaining ¼ cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons sherry, remaining 1½ teaspoons cornstarch, remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, oyster sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and pepper together in second bowl.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef in single layer. Cook without stirring for 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown on both sides, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining beef and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.

5. Return skillet to high heat, add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, and heat until beginning to smoke. Add bell peppers and scallion greens and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are spotty brown and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl with beef.

6. Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat and add remaining 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Return beef and vegetables to skillet and stir to combine.

7. Whisk sauce to recombine. Add to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Technique: Cutting Flank Steak for Stir-Fry

Cut steak with grain into 2- to 2 1/2 -inch strips, then cut each strip crosswise against grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Velvety Beef, Without Velveting

The ultratender texture of the stir-fried beef served in Chinese restaurants comes from a classic technique known as velveting, which involves coating the meat and blanching it in a pot of oil before stir-frying even takes place. We looked for a more streamlined way to protect and tenderize the meat.
TRADITIONAL VELVETING: Marinate in cornstarch and egg white; blanch in oil to set coating
RESULTS: Good but messy and time-consuming

TEST 1: Keep cornstarch and egg white; skip blanching in oil
RESULTS: Curdled mess

TEST 2: Keep cornstarch; omit egg white
RESULTS: Silky but not tender enough

TEST 3: Keep cornstarch; add baking soda

RESULTS: Extra-supple meat and lessfuss


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