Aug 9, 2006

Beef with Gailan

I guess it's pretty obvious by now, but let me say it nonetheless -- I love entertaining. If I ever win the lotto* one of the things I'd probably do is have people over for a dinner party every single day! :) That after buying all the tableware and cutlery I've swooned and pined for, a la Marketman. :)

Last Sunday I had another "gotta feed people" attack and invited my in-laws over. We had:

1) Beef with Gai-lan. We were in Arranque Market again that Sunday morning and among the items we picked up were Gai-Lan (Chinese broccoli leaves) and spinach. I don't know if 'twas the recent spate of typhoons that did it, but the price of gai-lan went up 150% (from P50.00 per kilo to P180!)

My first taste of the dish was at Mr. Peter Lee's Tea House and I've tried to replicate it since. I've come up with the next best thing (I think), complete with the accompanying Chili Garlic sauce (by Lee Kum Kee). The recipe's below.

2) Grilled Tanglad-Laced Bangus, which was a concession to my fish-manic husband. And because we have pots (emphasis on the plural**) of tanglad (lemon grass), he put a few bunches in before wrapping the fish with aluminum foil sheets. The mixture of aroma from the ginger, onions, tomatoes and the tanglad steaming out when we opened the wrappings was fantastic. You would have wanted to re-open the foil wrapping over and over for a whiff. :)

3) Mustard Greens with Italian Dressing. My husband has made a similar salad before, but with a different dressing (onions in vinegar). This time we tried bottled Italian dressing, drizzled on the thoroughly washed greens garnished with bell pepper and salad onion strips. I had anticipated a slightly bitter aftertaste as there was the first time I had mustard greens but surprise -- had none of that at all! The greens were yummy!

(O magugunaw na talaga ang mundo, former out and out carnivores like myself are repenting?)

Here's what I did with Beef with Gai-Lan:

What's In It?

  • 1/2 kg. beef, cut across the grain into 1/2" wide strips
  • 1/4 cup glutinous rice wine (you can substitute with chinese cooking wine, dry sherry or mirin)
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 dashes sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1/4 kg. gailan (chinese broccoli leaves)

Kitchen Conjugations:

  1. Marinate beef in rice wine, soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil and 3 cloves garlic for at least five minutes.
  2. While beef marinates, wash gailan and trim off hard parts (bottom end of stalks), separating the leaves into individual stalks. Wash in running water, or soak for 3 minutes then rinse.
  3. Heat some water in a deep pan and blanch the gailan. The leaves must be kept green and crisp-tender. (Cook in boiling water for 20-30 seconds only.) Remove from heat and transfer to serving plate.
  4. Heat oil in a wok. Add in onions and saute until translucent.
  5. Add in garlic, saute for 30 seconds, then add in beef (without the marinade).
  6. Stir-fry beef for 3 to 4 minutes over high heat.
  7. Stir in cornstarch into the marinade, dissolving lumps.
  8. Add in the marinade into the wok, continuing with the stir fry for 30 seconds or so, or until the sauce is thick.
  9. Pour the mixture over the blanched gailan. Serve hot, with chili garlic sauce for a little kick. :)


*That is if I ever decide to place a bet. :)

**Since we are renters, all our plants are potted; and that includes the lemon grass/tanglad. Lemon grass likes the sun and like other grasses grow fast requiring very little maintenance. What started as a single sprig has become three crowded pots of tanglad.