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...). Ingredients:
Quantities are for one person. Vary according to taste and appetite.
- flank steak or stir-fry beef (0.3-1 lb)
- yellow onion (1/2 - 1)
- oyster sauce (Hop Sing Lung brand recommended, 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
- corn starch (1-2 tsp)
- minced garlic (1/4 - 1 tsp)
- black ground pepper
- soy sauce (1-2 tbsp)
- terriyaki sauce (1-2 tsp)
- cooking wine (may make sauce sticky, 1 tbs)
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.