Korean Style Beef Kebabs

I’ve no idea about Korean food, but Ken Hom says these are Korean style so I’ll take him at his word. Either way, these tender kebabs are divine, and should you have the ingredients to hand (I had to shop for the mirin and the spring onions) are a snap to make. I couldn’t taste the pineapple juice in them, but I think it does add to the underlying sweetness and apparently helps tenderize the meat.

Enough to serve 4 with rice and salad

  • 450g steak – rump steak, sirloin or even frying steak
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 tbsp crushed garlic

Chop the steak into chunks roughly 1 inch x 2 inches. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour on top of the steaks in a non-metallic bowl. Leave to marinade for about an hour at room temperature.

Thread onto kebab sticks (either metal or if using bamboo, soak them in cold water for 30 minutes prior to using) and preheat your grill. When your grill is hot, put the kebabs in and cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side.

동. 즐기다, 즐겁게 시간을 보내다.


Beef Stroganoff

I feel so 1970’s. All I need now is a prawn cocktail appetiser and a black forest gateau and I’ll have the chicest dinner party in Surbiton. Surfing the interwebs (not so 1970’s, after all), I find I am supposed to serve it with wide buttered noodles rather than the rice I have planned, oh well.

I’ve used a Beef Stroganoff recipe from Good Housekeeping here and I chose it because it has no paprika in it, which is a seemingly contentious issue  if the viewers of Masterchef Australia are to be believed. Anyway, correct or not, I don’t want paprika in my stroganoff.  This is a quick and easy recipe, but I would suggest having all your ingredients to hand before you start. To serve 2:

  • 350g rump steak, in pieces 5cm or so long, sliced as thinly as possible.
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • half an onion, thinly sliced
  • 150g sliced button mushrooms
  • 20 ml brandy
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 100ml creme fraiche
  • 50 ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

In a heavy based pan, melt down the butter over a low heat and put in the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions for ten or so minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden. Add your sliced mushrooms and cook them with the onions for a few minutes until they are softened too. Remove from the pan and turn up the heat slightly. Add your steak to the pan, and brown quickly, and then add your brandy and cook until the sauce starts to reduce and the alcohol is cooked away.

Return the onions and mushrooms to the pan and turn the heat right back down again. Add the mustard, the cream and the creme fraiche and stir in, cooking until the sauce is hot and then stir through the chopped parsley. Get it while it’s hot.

Fiery(?) Dan Dan Noodles

So I’ve been thinking about making this dish for a while now. I have a bit of a strange relationship with Jamie Oliver recipes. Sometimes they’re fantastic but sometimes they’re really just ok. The only trouble is, Jamie Oliver is so enthusiastic about everything, that its difficult to tell from the outset what is amazing and what is merely alright. Anyway, I was attracted because there didn’t seem to be too much prep and it would be quick. Also, I really want to cook more chinese food.

The only way that I changed from the original recipe is that I didn’t use four types of greens – I just bought a large bag of choi sum from my chinese grocer. It doesn’t quite look the same as in Jamie’s picture but I didn’t have a food stylist or photographer. I just had my iphone.

Anyway, it was perfectly edible. I’d probably use fresh chilli next time rather than the chilli oil, as I think 5 tablespoons is too much – it tasted more oily than it did spicy – causing Greedy Guest to ask ,’Did you say they were fiery?’. I might also consider using finely chopped lean steak  instead of the mince . But it’s a very easy recipe, and it is quick. It wouldn’t serve four adults with average appetite, more like 2 hungry people. It didn’t set my world alight. But it was nice. Fine for a wednesday night quick dinner anyway.

Beef in Oyster Sauce

A proper cantonese dinner. You’re only really serving this with plain rice. Maybe a light vegetable side dish. Inspired by Kenneth Lo’s Sliced Steak in Oyster Sauce.

oystersauceWhen it comes to shopping in asian supermarkets, much as I love them, sometimes I feel a little set adrift. I simply have no idea what the right brand is to get… I am sure that in a lot of cases it is the difference between Daddy’s and HP sauce, personal preference, hardly matters. But the two shops I frequent, are probably used to me, and people like me, bent over in the aisle, eyes straining to read a list of ingredients,  the contents of which are similar, and often meaningless to the gweilo that are trying to deciper them. Maybe if I set up an european deli in China, the residents there would have trouble deciding over the different types of mustard or vinegar I would stock in much the same way.  But what does one do, when faced with 8 different types of oyster sauce? The clue is in the question, I ‘spose so I’m looking for the percentage of oyster derivatives – 9% in the bottle I bought, but 3% to 5% in comparable bottles. I’m guessing that oyster is fairly important. I will also look where phrases like ‘flavour enhancer’ and ‘modified corn starch’ appear in the list. I don’t care to know what modified corn starch is and I want as little as possible in my dinner. So, yeah, the nasties, as low as possible on the list, as things are always listed in terms of quantity. If its all fairly equal, I look at the price, and I buy the most expensive (and its never much money in a chinese supermarket) – here, the most expensive was just over twice the price of the cheapest – but had three times the amount of oyster. If I still can’t make a decision, I go for the best looking label. Really. The label  method has never, ever failed me yet.

Anyway, time ticks on. Serves 2  as a single main , or 4-6 as part of a range of dishes.

beef in oyster sauce

  • 45og rump steak (fat removed) or fillet steak if you are rich
  • 4 tbsps chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 80 ml chicken stock
  • 4-6 spring onions – depending on the size of the onions. White parts of the onion only.
  • 3 slices fresh ginger

Cut the meat into thin strips, roughly 3 cm across. Mix half the sherry, half the cornflour, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and water and half the oyster sauce in a bowl and then add the strips of beef. Mix thoroughly into the meat with your hands. I did this about two hours before I planned to cook, for convenience really. I don’t know enough to know if it makes any difference when you do it.

In another bowl, add the remaining cornflour, the oyster sauce and stock. Cut the onions into one inch pieces. Heat your wok on a high flame, until smoking slightly, and then pour in around four tablespoons of vegetable oil, swirling it around the pan slightly. Put it back on the heat and when very hot, put in the beef and stir fry for 30 seconds. Remove the beef  to a plate and discard any excess oil. Put the pan back over the heat and fry the spring onions and ginger slices for the count of twenty.

Replace the beef in the pan and pour in the remaining sherry. Spread out the beef evenly in the pan and pour in the oyster sauce mixture. Cook for another 30 seconds and quickly serve with the rice. Scoff.

Beef with Yoghurt and Pepper

This is a very mild indian dish actually, which is beautifully flavoured with wonderful soft meat. I’ve chosen to serve it with spicy green beans and parathas, but some plain rice would be ok. It is, as the vast majority of dinners that I prepare, made with economy and ease in mind. Maybe not always at the very front of my mind. But in mind. The paprika in this makes its slightly different to a lot of curries you might make from standard curryhouse recipes, but its good. This recipe, like the other two I have linked to in this post, were made from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking and the beans are a little hotter, if that floats your particular boat. Anyhow, made to serve 2 greedy people, more with smaller appetites and more if you’re going to serve another dish with it.

curry dinner

  • 45og stewing steak, cut into 4cm squares or, as it comes if you’ve bought it pre chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • one large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper – very coarsely ground
  • 275 ml plain yoghurt

Preheat your oven to gas mark 3. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole and brown the meat all over. This is best done in small batches over a medium high heat, because otherwise it will just steam in the pan, rather than give you the nice brown crust you’re looking for. Once its in the pan, don’t move it about , or it will stick, just give it a few minutes on each side, and it will be fine. Its actually very hard to screw up stewing steak. Which is one of the reasons I like it. When its browned, put it into a bowl and leave to one side, and add your onion and garlic and salt and stir them over a reduced heat for 10 or so minuntes  until softened. Return the browned meat and the meat juices that will have collected back to the pan. Also add your ginger, chilli, paprika and pepper. Stir this around for about a minute and add your yoghurt. When this comes to simmering point, cover your casserole tightly and put in the oven for 70-90 minutes (check from 70, I would say), by which point the meat should be tender.

Serve with parathas, and a vegetable curry dish, like spicy green beans.