Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chinese New Year

During my last two years of high school I worked as a waitress at the local Chinese Cafe. It was a small family owned business where all the family worked and by necessity the venue for all family celebrations. Chinese New Year was one such celebration.  For some reason I seemed to get an invite to celebrate with them.

With an Australian/British background I was suddenly exposed to all manner of  interesting and exotic foods. Stir fry, steamed whole fish, green ginger, lychees, chicken feet - just some examples of ingredients that I was not familiar with and who knew that rice was used for anything other than pudding.

Stir fried food made up the bulk of the menu. With stir fry, preparation is important, everything must be ready to go. Meat marinated, vegetables prepared, aromatics and sauces organised.

For this very simple beef and bean stirfry I used a bean slicer to prepare the beans, it made the task very easy.

A pile of sliced beans in next to no time. It was easy to cut the pile of sliced beans in half.

Stir Fried Beef with Beans
500 g thinly sliced steak
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small knob of ginger grated
1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons cornflour, mixed to paste with a tablespoon of flour
1 teaspoon sesame oil

250 g green beans
sliced and blanched/ cooked in microwave for 1 minute

1 mild large chilli or capsicum, thinly sliced/julienned

½ bunch spring onions, thinly sliced or 1 onion, thinly sliced

1/3 – 1/2 cup stock

Combine beef, garlic, ginger, soy in a bowl and marinate. I like to refrigerate it overnight.

Heat pan/wok until very hot, add oil and then beef. Toss/stir for a minute or two until brown and nearly cooked. Remove to a clean bowl.

Add capsicum and spring onions to hot pan, toss, Return beef to pan, add stock, bring to boil, Add beans and toss together. Add the sesame oil if using.

To thicken sauce

Stir in cornflour paste and allow mixture to boil.

Chinese New Year would not be complete without

these sweet pork buns, the cafe did not have these on the menu, they were made for special family dinners,

or a little plate of Lap Cheong - Chinese pork sausage

and maybe a few of these delicious little dumplings

I am very grateful to the Louey family for allowing me to spend time out the back and for cultivating my interest. I got to watch and learn and after a little while to help out. Forty years on and I am still cooking 'Chinese'.

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