Garlic Beef with Shiitake Mushrooms on Golden Noodles

Few dishes are as seductively sumptuous as thin slices of beef, shiitake mushrooms, and snow peas bathed in a velvety oyster sauce on a bed of tender noodles. I’ve updated this Cantonese classic with fresh shiitake mushrooms rather than dried. For convenience, I sometimes broil the noodles (see page 18). You can substitute cremini mushrooms.

1 ½ pounds flank steak, London broil, or boneless sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and gristle

Beef Marinade Mix together:
3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch

5 ½ tablespoons safflower or corn oil
½ pound shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, drained, stems removed, and caps thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger

¾ pound Chinese snow peas, ends trimmed and strings removed
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake

Oyster Sauce Mix together:
1 ½ cups Chinese Chicken Broth (page 53)
6 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
1 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

¾ pound thin noodles, pan-fried (page 18) and kept warm in a low oven

1. Cut the meat into 1/6-inch-thick slices. In a bowl, combine them with the marinade, tossing lightly to coat.
2. Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over high heat. Add 3 ½ tablespoons of the oil and heat until almost smoking hot. Add the beef slices and stir-fry over high heat until they lose their pink color and separate. Remove with a handled strainer or a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Wipe out the wok.
3. Reheat the wok, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the snow peas and rice wine and stir-fry for 1 ½ minutes. Add the oyster sauce and cook, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until thickened. Add the beef and toss gently in the sauce. Spoon over the noodles and serve.

6 servings
© Nina Simonds 2011



Vietnamese Spring Rolls

These delicate rolls are perfect portable little noodle salads. They are great for entertaining. Simply prepare them several hours in advance and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist. You can add barbecued pork (as in the classic recipe) or substitute other cooked meat or seafood).

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and gristle

Garlicky Marinade Blend together
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 ½ tablespoons honey

½ pound thin rice stick noodles (vermicelli), softened in hot water, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, and drained
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded or grated
¾ cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely shredded
¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely shredded

35 round rice paper wrappers (about 8 inches in diameter)
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, dried, and the tough center ribs trimmed
1 ½ pounds medium shrimp, poached in boiling water until pink, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, and deveined

Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Dipping Sauce and Peanut Sauce for dipping

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Put the pork in an aluminum foil-lined baking pan, add the garlicky marinade, and turn to coat. Roast about 35 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. Let cool, then cut into thin 1 ½ inch long slices.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the pork, rice noodles, carrots, mint, and cilantro.
3. Fill a wide shallow pan with hot water and spread a dish towel out on a work surface. Dip a rice wrapper into the warm water for about 3seconds, until softened, and place it in front of you on the towel.
4. Place a lettuce leaf on the lower third of the rice wrapper. Arrange 2 tablespoons of the noodle mixture on the lettuce. Fold the bottom edge over the filing, tucking in the sides. Place 2 shrimp halves, cut side down, and roll up into a tight cylinder. Place the roll on a platter and cover with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, filling, and shrimp. Serve with sweet-and-sour sauce and spicy peanut sauce.

Makes 35 Rolls

© Nina Simonds 2011



Spicy Korean Beef Noodles

I crave spicy seasonings like garlic, ginger, and hot chiles. And I love to counterbalance the heat with fresh vegetables such as the lettuce wrappers in this dish. The crisp fried rice stick noodles add yet another textural contrast to the tender cooked beef.

2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried
2 ounces thin rice stick noodles, deep-fried as directed on page 10

Korean Seasonings
3 ½ tablespoons minced scallions (white part only)
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

½ pound lean ground beef

1 ½ teaspoons safflower or corn oil

Spicy Sauce Mix together:
5 tablespoons Chinese ground bean sauce or sweet bean paste
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons hot chile paste

1 pound firm tofu, wrapped in paper towels and weighted for 30 minutes, then cut into ¼ inch cubes

1. Trim any touch center ribs from the lettuce leaves and press them gently to flatten them. Arrange in a basket or a serving bowl. Arrange the fried noodles on a serving platter, crumbling them gently to break them up.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the Korean seasonings. Add the beef and mix well.
3. Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry, breaking up any lumps, until it loses its pink color. Drain in a colander and wipe out the wok.
4. Reheat the wok, add the spicy sauce, cooking and stirring until it reduces and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tofu and beef and toss to coat. Spoon the mixture over the fried noodles. To eat, spoon about 1 ½ tablespoons of the noodle mixture onto a lettuce leaf and roll it up, tucking in the sides.

6 Servings

© Nina Simonds 2011


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