Last week, we went over the basic ingredients to keep in your kitchen for making Chinese food. This week, we’re making steamed rice, and Cantonese beef and broccoli.

What do we need for each entrée — equipment and ingredients?

Steamed rice

Here is my pao pao or grandma’s secret recipe, no measuring cup needed. In a soup pot, throw in five handfuls of rice (one for each guest and an extra one for the house).

Wash and rinse the rice, then touch the surface of the rice with the tip of your index finger, and add water until the level reaches the first joint. Bring it to a boil, then put the lid on and let it simmer.

Cantonese beef and broccoli

• Beef (flank steak) – 4 oz per person

• Broccoli florets – 1-2 lbs

• Baby corn, straw mushrooms, water chestnuts, sliced carrots – 2 oz each

• Sauces – Black bean, oyster, wine, cornstarch

So, the rice is simmering, and just let it be. Now, slice the beef into four or five strips, about 2 inches wide, then cut across the grain to make thinner slices. In a bowl, put in the beef, and then add 1 tablespoon of:

• Cornstarch

• Sherry (white wine)

• Soy sauce

• Sesame oil

I call it the 4S marinade, 1 tablespoon each to 1 lb. of meat. Very simple. The best result is to let it sit for a few hours (or even overnight). The 4S creates a better flavor, and also tenderizes the meat a bit more.

With the broccoli, get rid of the stem, and cut the florets into bite-size pieces, which is about 2 inches wide. I always cook with minced garlic and ginger, but it is optional. And if you are in a hurry, use two woks (pans), otherwise, one will do.

Heat up the wok, and then add 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon each of minced garlic and ginger, and 1 tablespoon of black bean paste with garlic.

When wok is heated, add your meat and stir. Take them out when they are about three-fourths done.

Don’t bother rinsing the wok, add another tablespoon of oil immediately.

Add 1/4 tablespoon of black bean sauce, then add broccoli.

Add 1/4 cup of wine to steam the broccoli, and cover with lid. Drink the other 3/4 cup.

When the broccoli is tender (but not too soft), add the rest of the ingredients — baby corn, sliced carrots, water chestnuts, straw mushrooms, cook till bubbling.

Add beef back to wok, and add 1/2 cup of oyster sauce immediately. Keep stirring until all ingredients are coated with sauce.

The steamed rice, which sets patiently all this time, is ready to be served.

Before you serve your food, make sure that you have tasted it and personally are pleased with the profile. Do not feed your guests something that you’re not proud to serve.

Now, picture this — brownish meat, green broccoli, yellow baby corn, grayish straw mushroom and orange carrots; coated with a light brown sauce on top of steamy white rice.

Add to it the aroma from the garlic, ginger and black bean sauce still lingering in the kitchen. Need I say more?

I like something dry and sharp with this dish – Pinot Grigio or Gerwurtztremeiner.


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