Beef and Broccoli
Here is a streamlined, powerfully flavorful recipe for a delivery-food standby: velvety wok-fried beef in a oyster-soy sauce, served in a forest of green. ‘‘It’s diaspora food,’’ the chef Jonathan Wu told me, describing the cooking of Chinese immigrants to the United States and a dish that is almost unknown in China but beloved in America. The recipe is a version of the one Wu’s mother made for dinner when he was growing up outside Hartford, Conn., with a little chile-garlic paste added for zip and, thanks to the Brooklyn chef Dale Talde, a pat of butter swirled into the sauce at the end. This provides a plush gloss that is far better than the traditional cornstarch slurry. It is midweek family cooking at its best.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ⅓cup Shaoxing rice wine, dry sherry or sake
- 3tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1tablespoon cornstarch
- 1pound beef — chuck or rib steak — sliced thin against the grain
- ¼cup oyster sauce
- ½tablespoon chile-garlic sauce, or to taste
- ½cup plus 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola, grapeseed or peanut
- 1pound broccoli, the head cut into florets and the stems peeled and cut into planks
- 2tablespoons unsalted butter
Step 1In a large bowl, whisk together the wine, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and the cornstarch. Add the beef to the bowl, and toss to combine, then cover the bowl, and set aside for 20 minutes or so.
Step 2To make the sauce, combine in a small bowl the remaining soy sauce, the oyster sauce and the chile-garlic sauce, and mix to combine, then add a tablespoon of water and mix again. Set aside.
Step 3Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a wok set over high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add about half the beef to the wok, and stir-fry until it is browned and crisp and barely cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate, and set aside. Then repeat with remaining beef.
Step 4Pour off the oil in the wok, wipe it out with a towel and return it to the stove over high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and swirl it around and heat it until it is smoking. Add the broccoli and cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until lightly charred in spots, about 2 minutes.
Step 5Add 2 tablespoons water to the wok, and toss and stir the broccoli in the steam for an additional 2 minutes, then return beef to the wok, followed by the sauce. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, for 30 seconds or so, then add the butter, and stir and toss again for 30 seconds more. Serve immediately, with rice.