American Chinese cuisine refers to the style of food served by many Chinese restaurants in the United States. This type of cooking typically caters to American tastes and differs significantly from homeland Chinese cuisine.
Contrary to popular belief “chinese cuisine” or specifically “Beef & Broccoli” origins are not from China. In fact if you were to go to China and show pictures of “Chinese food” the people of china wouldn’t recognize any of it. Why? Well it’s not chinese, plain and simple. It is “American Chinese cuisine” developed in the early 19th century.
The Chinese in San Francisco operated restaurants patronized mainly by Chinese, while restaurants in smaller towns served what their customers requested, ranging from sandwiches and apple pie, and beans and eggs. Smaller restaurants modified and developed American Chinese cuisine to suit a more American palate. At first serving mainly miners and railroad workers, they established new eateries in towns where Chinese food was completely unknown, adapting to not only local ingredients but to their customers’ taste.
The original Chinese dish includes a Chinese broccoli, called gai lan, which is a leafy vegetable different from the Western broccoli we eat here.
This version of Beef & Broccoli I made has a few slight variations from what you might get from a local chinese take out, but the over all flavor, appearance and texture is still the same. Instead of using a flank, sirloin or round steak I used a skirt steak. I omitted deep-frying the steak in oil to make the dish a little healthier. Also I used hoisin in place of oyster sauce.
Now this dish has a lot of steps involved, but if you follow these steps and have everything you need portioned, prepped, organized this dish will go off without a hitch and fast as both the beef and broccoli do not take long to cook.
Gather and separate ingredients into three groups. Marinade, Finishing Sauce, Prep Broccoli
Make marinade, add beef, put into fridge
Make finishing sauce, put to the side
Blanch broccoli and start rice
Ready? Let’s get cooking!!!
Ingredients for marinade
1 1/2 lbs of flank, round, sirloin, or skirt steak
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Finishing Sauce
3 tbsp oyster or hoisin sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
Small piece of fresh ginger; grated about 1/2 inch
2 cloves fresh garlic, grated or minced to a paste like texture
Cut the steak you are going to use in very thin slices and place in a bowl, or ziploc bag. Mix together the corn starch and rice wine and pour over the steak pieces. Stir well to coat the meat evenly. Put in the fridge till you are ready to cook.
Prepare finishing sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
While the steak is marinating, steam or boil the broccoli just until it turns bright green.
Remove the broccoli and blanch in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain thoroughly. Don’t worry you will finish cooking while it is stir-fried.
Heat wok or large skillet until it is hot. Pour in about a tablespoon of cooking oil and add about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and swirl it around.
In a single layer, place meat in wok and let it cook until browned.
Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until no longer pink.
Add the broccoli, and mix around quickly .
Give the finishing sauce a quick stir and pour it over the beef and broccoli.
Stir everything together until the sauce thickens.
Serve over rice.
Optional; Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds onto finished dish.