Monday, December 14, 2009

Shaking Beef & Garlic Noodles

Yes, I noticed that this is supposed to be an "International Food Adventure Blog," but I just can't seem to get out of Southeast Asia.

Whenever I hear "Shaking Beef," I always imagine a really cold cow shivering... inside my apartment (because it's really cold!). Anyhow, I decided to make some "famous" dishes from some restaurants: Shaking Beef from The Slanted Door and PF Changs' Garlic Noodles. For those who have not heard of The Slanted Door, it's a local San Francisco Restaurant (a kin to Out the Door).

The Shaking Beef recipe is totally complicated! But worth it, I swear!

The Meat
2 T chopped garlic
1 t sugar
1½ t salt
¾ t fresh black pepper
2 T neutral cooking oil, such as canola or corn oil
1½ lbs filet mignon, cut into 1” cubes

Mix everything together and let it marinate for at least two hours.

I used pre-cut beef from Trader Joe's, and it was tender! Just like their guarantee said! But of course, I added a little bit of baking soda, just like a tiny pinch. The Chopping Block & I were talking to a co-worker, whose parents ran a restaurant and told us the most AMAZING SECRET of all time: to tenderize your meat, add a tiny bit of baking soda. It is important that you do not over do it. Trust me kids, I over did it once on my cheap beef chuck for a Jap Chae once, and it just tasted like... not beef?It wasn't very good. Now, you young'ns can take that to the bank.

The Vinaigrette
¼ c rice vinegar
1 T sugar
¼ c rice wine
4 T light soy sauce
1 T dark soy sauce
1 T fish sauce

Okay, I don't use ANY alcohol in my cooking because the other person I cook for does not consume any alcohol, so I replaced the 1/4 cup rice wine with 2 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tbs cider vinegar, and 1 tbs water. Well... this made the vinaigrette a little to vinegary, so I recommend just adding 1/4 cup water instead. I would also add a 1/2 tsp on corn starch to thicken things up.

The Dipping Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
½ t kosher salt
¼ t fresh black pepper

I seriously forgot this. Oh my god, I know.

The Stir-Fry
4 T neutral cooking oil, such as canola or corn oil
3 stalks green onion, cut into 1” pieces
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 t butter
2 bunches watercress, for garnish

PSHA! Who has the money for garnish, right? Okay, maybe I do, but I didn't feel like giving Safeway $2, so I didn't get it.

So, we want to separate everything into two batches (re: the meat, the onions, the green onions, oil, butter, etc). You want to have one nicely spaced out layer of meat. You brown it until it gets a nice rice brown color (the sides will start caramelizing), then you flip them (I used a pair of chopsticks), and then add the onions, green onions, and 1/2 of your vinaigrette mix. I actually used a non-stick pan, so I didn't need to use the butter. I am also skeptical of adding butter to this dish. I don't know, just didn't seem right. Now, you want to shake the beef until it moves freely (hence its name "Shaking Beef"). Should only take a minute, now remove everything from the pan quickly! You don't want to over cook your meat! Mine came out perfectly medium rare. DELICIOUS!

I thought the perfect compliment to the beef was a side of Garlic Noodles.

Stir Fry Sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken base powder (no MSG)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons shaohsing wine or sherry
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Puleaze. I shop in Chinatown; you expect me to have MSG free chicken powder? I don't think so!

Again, I replaced the alcohol with vinegar, but I think replacing all of it with water would be better because this too, came out a little too vinegary.

Mix everything and set aside.

The Noodles
3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound fresh Chinese noodle or vermicelli
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
4 ounces Cantonese stir fry sauce (see recipe below)
1 Japanese cucumber or English cucumber
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

So since I didn't get the watercress for the Shaking Beef, I wouldn't expect you to expect me to buy cucumbers as garnish either. If you didn't, then you obviously don't know how cheap I am.

I decided to buy this green "Spinach" chow mein noodle because since I excluded all the garnishes I wanted to liven things up with a little green, okay? I compared the ingredients for this "Spinach" mein with the regular mein, and it has the exact same ingredients with the addition of Blue dye #5. Interesting.

So boil some water and drop the mein in (while the water is boiling), and then take them out once the water has re-boiled. Strain the noodles and toss in the red chile flakes, the cilantro, and oil. (Do this prior to starting the Shaking Beef. After you strain the noodles is a good time to start cooking your beef).

In your wok, add in the sesame oil and garlic. After the garlic browns a little, add in your "stir fry sauce." Since it has corn starch in it, it should thicken up. Just leave it for a minute or two until it reduces by 1/3 to 1/2. (You should be turning your beef right now or cooking the second batch). Now dump in your noodles and stir. Add in your sugar and vinegar and continue to stir. Once the noodles and the mixture are nice and hot, you're done!

Phew! Getting those two dishes to come out at the same time was nerve racking! But my timing was perrrrrfect, and here's my steaming hot Shaking Beef with Garlic noodles! Enjoy! (The Garlic Noodles was a great hit, btw!)

1 comment:

  1. oh man, this thing is so complicated! did you know? Vietnamese people would eat this thing for breakfast! Gah! Wut a fancy bunch.

    It sounds like you need to write a Project Schedule for this recipe.