Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sesame Beef with Mushroom and Soy Sauce Rice

One of my favorite Chinese take out dishes is Sesame Beef with Fried Rice.   Delicious crispy beef with a sweet, yet mildly spiced sauce...wha'ts not to love.  Of course, this isn't an every day meal, but all foods are OK in moderation.  Preparing your favorite restaurant dishes at home allows you to control the quality of ingredients and sodium.

My inspiration for this recipe is a Chinese Bistro in Tallahassee.  It's one of the few places that serves the beef crispy and not soggy from the copious amount of sauce.   Most recipes call for top sirloin steak, but for this dish I used cube steak.  1. it's a cheaper cut of beef  2. the meat has been tenderized which will lessen the chances of over cooking the beef.    

Restaurant Style Sesame Beef
serves 4 or 2 hearty portions


1 1/2 lb. cubed steak, thinly sliced


4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or sherry vinegar 
a few drops of sesame oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the Sauce

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili paste (recommended: Sambal Oelek)
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup sugar or 2/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons tamri or dark soy sauce

Peanut oil or grapeseed oil (use a cooking oil with a high smoke point)

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions or cilantro, for garnish

Toast sesame seeds and set aside.

In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients.  Toss the beef slices in the cornstarch mixture and coat well.  Set aside to marinate while you prepare the sauce.

Meanwhile, mix together all of the sauce ingredients.  Pour them into a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Turn the heat down to low and keep warm while you are frying the beef. 

In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer heat enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pot, to 375 degrees F.

Fry the beef, in small batches, until golden and crispy, about 2 to 5 minutes. Remove the beef using a wire mesh strainer and drain on paper towels. Season with a little salt, to taste. 

To serve, arrange the fried chicken on a platter and pour drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds and garnish with scallions and/or cilantro sprigs.

You can serve this along with brown rice or steamed white rice.  I decided to prepare a quick and easy mushroom rice to go along with the sesame beef.  To round out the meal, serve steamed broccoli on the side.

Quick Mushroom and Soy Sauce Rice
serves 4

2 teaspoons sesame oil1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms (I used a French wild mushroom mix)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 cup uncooked white rice
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, combine the above ingredients and bring to a boil.  Stir, turn down the heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes.

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