Sometimes you just have to “change it up” just a bit. I love cooking Salisbury Steak and I love cooking Swiss Steak. Both are Midwestern comfort food classics. OK, actually what I love is eating Salisbury Steak and Swiss Steak. And a lot of people have commented in my posts that they love these dishes too.
I’ve always loved cooking in the wok. Wok cooking is simple. Typically the hardest part is the prep and having everything ready to go before cooking. But that’s simply a matter of “slicing and dicing”. Chinese-style cooking is also something that goes well with Cheap Bastid’s love for simple, inexpensive, fresh ingredients. And, proteins like meat especially go further Chinese style making it even better for diet and budget conscious folks.
Here’s one of my all-time favorite Chinese recipes to cook and especially to eat. This dish is pungent and tasty. It combines beef with my favorites of tomatoes and onions along with an aromatic sauce that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. It’s a different twist on Comfort Food.
It’s served over rice, or with rice on the side, whichever you prefer. So first, I’m going to provide my basic rice recipe which I got 30 years ago from “Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook” which came with my first wok. This is as close to “foolproof” rice as you can get without investing in a rice cooker.
And yes, the rice will stick together when you serve it and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. You can’t eat rice with chopsticks when the grains are all separate and going their own way. And I think this tastes far better than “Minute Rice”. It’s just basic, long-grain rice that I buy in bulk at the grocery store for $.79/lb.
Here’s a link to the recipe for basic rice: http://www.cheap-bastid-cooks.com/steamed-rice/
When you cover the pan of rice on the stove is when you can go ahead and start heating your wok to cook the rest of the meal. Have all your prep for the wok done so you can just start cooking. This will usually mean that the wok cooking is done and the rice is done at about the same time.
Recipe: Chinese Steak
Summary: Simple ingredients and full of flavor and aroma, Chinese Steak is easy to make and is certain to become one of your favorite ways to make comfort food with just a little different twist.
- 1-1½ lbs sirloin steak
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Couple of good splashes sherry or wine
- 1 tbsp Ginger
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp diced onion
- 2 egg whites (give the yolk to the dog)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup oil for frying
- 2 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges—about 8 wedges each
- 1 cup onion cut into appx. 1” long slices
- 4 tbsp Worcestershire, 4 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar. Mix all together in advance.
- Using a meat tenderizer/mallet pound meat on both sides. Cut meat into 1” cubes then put into a non-metal dish or into a 1 gal. freezer bag.
- Mix the soy sauce, sherry/wine, ginger/garlic powder & diced onion together and pour over meat. Marinate at least 2-4 hours.
- Add the egg white and cornstarch and mix thoroughly into the meat mixture.
- Do all your cutting and prepping before you start cooking. Cut the tomatoes and onion and put into small bowls. (You want everything next to you on the counter ready to go in the wok. This basic organization makes a big difference anytime you cook but especially in wok cooking).
- Start the rice according to the earlier recipe. When you put the cover on the rice pan, it’s time to start cooking the rest of your dinner.
- Put wok on burner, burner to high, add 1 cup oil. Heat until water flicked on oil immediately sizzles off. Add meat in small batches (about 1/3 at a time) and fry 2-3 minutes per batch—allow oil to reheat between batches. Drain on a plate or pan lined with 2-3 paper towels.
- When meat is done, let oil cool then drain all but 2 tbsp of oil from the wok. Reheat the wok. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes just until they start to soften. Add the beef and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the sauce and stir all together.
- Finally, add tomatoes, mix everything and serve over rice.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
This smells fantastic during the final cooking when the meat and sauce and onions and tomatoes all get together in the wok. It’s pungent and aromatic. And it tastes just as good. It’s got just a hint of “heat” (enough to make the top of my head sweat a little) and that comes from the Worcestershire.
The Cheap Bastid test: Well, the sirloin cost $3.00/lb. on special at Stater Bros. And I used about 1/3 lb of rice for another $.30. Plus, 1 lb of tomatoes for $1 and half an onion for about $.25. Total budget for this great dinner for 2 was $4.55. And there’s plenty of left-overs for tomorrow too.