Strange Musings *hyuk*
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
  5:58 PM — Nga Boo's Beef with Oyster Sauce
Nga Boo is my maternal grandmother. She was born in Shanghai in 1913 to an upper-class family. She had bound feet and broke an arranged marriage to marry my peasant Cantonese Nga Cone. They fled Mao's Communists in 1946 and she was forced to become a waitress and learn to cook from Nga Cone at a Chinese resturaunt they owned in New Jersey. Later, she became a high school gym teacher, beginning our family tradition of three generations of teachers.

This is the first thing I learned how to cook, and Nga Boo's lack of recipie is probably what inspired my own slap-dash style of cooking (when I bother to cook...).

Quantities are for one person. Vary according to taste and appetite.

Cut flank steak perpendicular to the grain into strips (<=1cm thick, 5cm long). Marinade overnight (if time allows) with half the oyster sauce and all the corn starch.

Dice yellow onion and put in frying pan on low/medium heat (no oil required) while slicing beef (if you didn't marinade overnight). Add beef and all other ingredients. Continue to cook on low/medium heat, stirring frequently or continually, for 5-20 minutes, or until beef is cooked but before it gets tough.

Serve with white or jasmine rice (prepared separately per normal instructions, 1/2 cup dry) and a stir fry vegetable. I recommend take either fresh green peas (in pod) or fresh asparagus (1-3 handfuls, raw, of either) and simmer in a pan with chicken soup stock until vegetable just turns bright green.

Your Nga Boo is a darling! I hope she's doing all right.
What an amazing woman. Reading between the lines you have to admire someone who was able to break out of tradition like that and to do the almost impossible. Some people are irrepressible and they pick themselves up and go even further.

I guess you've read "Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China" by Jung Chang? I read that at a time I was commuting and my nose would be stuck in it even as I walked across platforms, up stairs... it is one of those books you just cannot put down even though it appears so long it is easy to read.
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