So you may have guessed I love Chinese food. When I fly to the mainland it is difficult as I want to try every new restaurant but always hanker for a fantastic Chinese extravaganza, a rather greedy feast I am afraid. I recall a delicious Chinese meal in Oakham, Rutland, see I once lived and worked geographically about as far from the sea as you can get in England. In particular, one dish, crispy, chilli beef served in a deep fried potato nest was fantastic, it was from over fifteen years ago, however, so I cannot guaranty that the restaurant even exists now, just a fabulous memory. Then moist, flavoursome steamed scallop wontons and prawn and pork dumplings from Hakkasan in Hanway Place, London *, for which I would almost give anything to learn how to make. Finally an awesome crab with ginger and scallions ( Spring onions fellow English readers ), in East Harbor, New York, with a mind blowing Chinese and Japanese menu. It is rather sad that I have yet had the opportunity to go to China but it is on my list to do, perhaps one day.
What I have done was an inspiring course in London with Ken Hom, equipped myself with numerous books, woks, steamers and ingredients from quaint little Asian speciality suppliers and set to work as only a chef can and chopped, pounded, crushed, fried and ate my way through the Chinese canon. Cantonese, Shandong, Hunan and spicy Szechuan cuisine with noodles, rice, black beans, bok choi and lots of seasoning; garlic, chilli, cloves and ginger, and the wonderfully pungent star anise. Am I giving my little local take away a bit of a run for his money what do you think? Enjoy.
My Top Tip – Add splashes of water or vegetable stock occasionally while stir frying – this will produce steam helping to quickly cook the vegetables and prevents sticking.
Beef in Black Bean Sauce serves 4
750 gr quality Rump Steak
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips or julienne
2 large Onions, Peeled and cut into thin slices
1 Green Pepper, cut into slices
1 Red Pepper, cut into slices
75 ml neutral Oil for stir frying
50 gr Fermented Black Beans
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 cm piece of Ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 small Red Chilli, seeds removed and very finely sliced
1 tablespoon quality Toasted Sesame Oil
For the marinade
3 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
3 tablespoons Rice Wine or Dry Sherry
¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
1 Clove of Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons Corn Flour, mixed with a little cold water
For the sauce
100 ml quality beef Stock
1 tablespoon Caster Sugar
1 tablespoon Corn Flour, mixed with a little cold water
Place the rump steak in the freezer for thirty minutes, this firms up the beef making it easier to slice thinly. On a secure board slice the beef with a sharp kitchen knife into thin strips and place into a glass bowl. Add the marinade ingredients, mix well to combine together and fully cover the steak strips.
Cover and chill in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. Meanwhile, prepare the black beans by first rinsing thoroughly in cold water then soaking in fresh water for around half an hour, changing the water once. Drain thoroughly, chop finely and set aside.
When ready to cook, drain the meat from the marinade pouring any remaining marinade into a small, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the sauce ingredients to the marinade and heat gently to thicken, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps forming. Heat the oil in the wok until smoking and carefully add the meat. Stir fry until cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on to some kitchen paper
Heat a little more oil then stir fry onion over medium heat for five minutes before adding the carrots and peppers, continue cooking for a couple more minutes until they are just starting to go soft. Add the black beans and cook for two more minutes stirring continuously, be careful not to burn, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for a further two minutes. Return the beef to the wok, strain the sauce through a fine sieve and add as well. Mix in the sesame oil and cook for one more minute stirring all the time to heat the beef through and serve immediately with egg fried rice or noodles.