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BECAUSE OF the scarcity of cattle in China, beef cookery was never developed as fully as pork. However, contact with the West (and the greater availability of beef to the Chinese outside China ) had its inevitable impact. With characteristic ingenuity, the Chinese adapted their cooking methods and seasonings to beef cookery and made it their own. Beef is cooked in many ways: stir-fried, deep-fried, steamed, braised, stewed, barbecued, dry-fried or smoked. Many cuts are used: brisket, chuck roast, chuck steak, flank steak, pot roast, short ribs, round steak, rump roast, shank, sirloin steak, beef tenderloin; also beef liver, heart and kidneys. Particularly favored is beef plate, a coarse cut with strong fibers and muscles which, when simmered slowly for hours, becomes tender and tasty. The Chinese call this white abdomen, or hundred abdomen, of beef. COOKING TECHNIQUES AND SUITABLE CUTS OF BEEF:
STIR-FRYING (sliced thin, occasionally minced): chuck roast, chuck steak, flank steak, round steak, top rump, sirloin steak, beef tenderloin and beef liver
DEEP-FRYING (cubed or shredded): flank steak, sirloin steak, beef tenderloin, short ribs and beef kidneys STEAMING (sliced, slivered or minced): chuck steak, flank steak, round steak, sirloin steak and top rump BRAISING (whole or in chunks): brisket, chuck roast, chuck steak, eye round, plate, pot roast, rump roast, shank and beef heart RED-SIMMERING (whole, in chunks or cubes): chuck steak, pot roast and shank
BARBECUING (sliced): beef tenderloin, porterhouse steak and short ribs DRY-FRYING (sliced thin or slivered): sirloin steak SMOKING (sliced thin): beef tenderloin NOTE: Regardless of cut, beef should have a good red color and little fat.
It should also be firm to the touch.
TENDERIZING BEEF: Some of the tougher cuts of meat may be tenderized before stir-frying, deep-frying, braising or red-simmering. (See "How-to Section".)
TIPS ON STIR-FRYING: Beef should never be stir-fried by itself longer than two minutes before the vegetables, liquid seasonings, etc., are added to the pan. If cooked longer by itself, the beef will toughen.
The best general cut of beef for stir-frying is flank steak. Its flat slablike structure, with a long grain running through it in only one direction, makes it simple to handle and to cut crosswise against the grain. Flank steak can be bought whole (it weighs about 3 pounds), then cut lengthwise with the grain into 3 or 4 long thick strips, each of which can be wrapped and frozen separately until needed. When ready to use, it may be thawed slightly, and sliced easily against the grain.
TIPS ON BRAISING: Braised beef can be cooked whole or cubed, and served hot or cold. If it's to be served hot, it may be cooked with such vegetables as bamboo shoots, carrots, lily buds or turnips. Its sauce can be thickened with a cornstarch paste just before serving. If it's to be served cold, the beef should be cooked whole, cooled and refrigerated (its gravy will jell and become aspic-like), then sliced thin just before serving. Braised beef, when cooked anone, is often spiced with star anise, then chilled, sliced thin and served as an hors d'oeuvre.
Braised beef dishes will keep about a week. They can also be frozen and, when you are ready to use them, reheated without any preliminary thawing.
From <The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook>, ISBN 0-517-65870-4. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, .
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