This recipe is adapted from one by Nina Simonds in her book Classic Chinese Cuisine (Houghton Mifflin, 1982). It is easy to make and quite delicious. The beef slices are tender, the cooked scallions have a distinct yet toned-down flavor, and the sugar and soy sauce glaze is light and tasty. Serve this as a main course for 4-6 people or as part of a bigger menu for a larger crowd (see our Chinese Dinner for Twelve).
2 pounds shoulder steak
4 cups sliced scallions (approx. ¼-inch wide)
2 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Remove fat or gristle from the steak and slice as thinly as possible across the grain. (This is easier if the meat is partially frozen. Be sure to use a very sharp knife.) If there are any long slices, cut them in half. Place the meat in a bowl with the marinade and stir until the slices are all covered with the sauce. Let marinate for one hour – for longer time, place in the refrigerator.
Add two cups oil to a wok and heat to about 400 degrees. Drain the meat and discard the extra marinade liquid. Add half of the beef to the wok and fry, stirring constantly until all the slices have changed color. Remove with a slotted spoon so that the extra oil remains in the wok. Place the cooked slices in a bowl. Bring the oil back up to 400 degrees and fry the remaining beef slices. Remove with the slotted spoon and add to the other meat. If the meat still seems too oily, you can place it in a drainer for a minute or two to drain the excess.
Mix together the beef sauce ingredients and set aside. Remove the oil and drippings from the wok, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Heat until very hot, add the sliced scallions, and stir-fry for about one minute. Add the beef slices and the beef sauce and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle the sesame oil over the mixture, toss lightly, and transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Serve immediately with white rice.
Yield: 6 servings