Takeout-style Beef and Mushroom Stir-fry

Being a college student, I am no stranger to takeout. Chinese takeout seems to always sneak into my weekly menu because it's convenient, sometimes healthful depending on what you choose, inexpensive, and delicious. I typically avoid those fried, sweet-and-sour-sauced dishes and instead opt for something that has lean protein and plenty of vegetables.

In case you haven't noticed, but I have posted several Asian-inspired recipes on this blog. Lately, they've consisted of Thai curries, but after having watched some instructional Youtube videos about how to make classic Chinese takeout dishes, I have decided to migrate to a different form of cooking. One of my favorite people to watch on Youtube is Ching He Huang from the BBC show Chinese Food Made Easy. Another one of my favorites is someone called ltkman, who makes Thai, Chinese, and Laotian cuisine.

Last night I decided to make a stir-fry inspired by one of my favorite Chinese dishes, beef and mushrooms. This recipe can also be used to make beef and broccoli and beef pepper steak, which are also popular Chinese dishes. I took several tips from a couple of folks on Youtube about how to make the most authentic and easy beef and mushrooms. First of all, I have learned to add a little rice wine, sherry, or vinegar to dishes containing meat because it helps to dampen the raw meat odor. Second, instead of making a cornstarch slurry to add to the sauce, I have learned that marinating the meat with cornstarch helps to protect the meat when it hits the hot pan, producing tender meat. Finally, one of the biggest trends I have noticed is the use of oyster sauce with beef. I have used oyster sauce before, but the pairing of beef and this sauce seems to be the most prevalent. It makes sense too because oyster sauce, while not fishy, is very rich in flavor, so it is the perfect compliment for beef. If you can't find oyster sauce or would prefer a sweeter sauce, hoisin would be equally delicious and is also a great match with a richer meat like beef.

Takeout-style Beef and Mushroom Stir-fry

1 lb lean beef cut into thin slices or strips
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp corn starch
black pepper
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp wok oil or light-colored oil
1 onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
16 oz sliced mushrooms*, any kind
3/4 cup low-sodium beef broth

4 servings cooked rice

1. Blend the sugar, oyster sauce, soy sauce, corn starch, black pepper, and rice wine vinegar together in a small bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat; allow it to marinade for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat your wok or large skillet over high heat. Add half the oil, then add the onion, garlic, ginger, and mushrooms* and stir-fry them until they are soft. Remove the vegetables to a dish.
3. Add the remaining oil and then add the meat. Stir-fry the meat until it has seared and is nearly cooked through. Add the vegetables back to the pan and toss all the ingredients together. Pour over the broth and stir to combine. Allow the liquid to boil so that the sauce thickens. Serve immediately, with rice.

*For beef and broccoli, add 16 oz thawed frozen or chopped fresh broccoli florets. For beef pepper steak, add a sliced green and red bell pepper.

Servings per recipe: 4
Per serving:
Calories: 307
Fat: 11.1 g
Saturated fat: 3.3 g
Cholesterol: 101 mg
Sodium: 704 mg
Carbohydrates: 11.3 g
Fiber: 1.8 g
Sugar: 4.9 g
Protein: 39.8 g

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