My mum always cooked from memory, never from anything that was written down. She’d learnt recipes from my grandmother as well as her older sisters. My mum would never consider herself a great cook, but to me, she is. The best, in fact. After all, she is the one who cooked for me as I was growing up, and so it is her food that brings me the ultimate comfort. Even now, when I get sick or when I am down, it is my mum’s food that I yearn for the most.
When I was about sixteen, I started shadowing my mum in the kitchen and writing down her recipes for all my favourite dishes. During that time, I discovered that her memory was like a treasure trove – full of delicious recipes that I knew I needed to keep alive. And so I scribbled them all down into a cheap, pink notebook that I’d grabbed from the newsagent. Childish handwriting and all. But though the notebook may appear shabby, it is one of my most prized possessions.
And so friends, I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes which I’m going to start sharing here on my blog. This is the food from my childhood. This is the food that makes me happy. This is the food that forms a part of who I am.
These are from the heart.
First up is the best beef stir fry ever.
What you will need: Beef skirt / soy sauce / cornflour/ salt / sugar / sesame oil / oil
According to my mum, beef skirt is the best cut for stir fry. However, if you try to purchase this from a western butcher, they will charge you an arm and a leg for it. So my advice is to track and track down an Asian butcher near you. They sell beef skirt for almost half the price.
Slice the beef skirt up thinly using the butterfly method. Add a spoonful of cornflour, a spoonful of sugar, a few splashes of light soy sauce as well as dark soy sauce, and a splash of sesame oil (I’m afraid there are no exact measurements to be specified here – mum always just added amounts based on her instinct and experience). Mix the beef and the marinade until beef is evenly covered. Add a splash of water along with some oil, and mix once more. The longer you can allow the beef skirt to marinate, the softer and more tender the beef will be. My mum used to leave it to marinate overnight whenever possible.
Heat up your wok or frying pan until it is very hot. Over this high heat, lay out the pieces of beef skirt as flatly on your wok or pan as possible. Even though this is called a “stir fry,” the best results are actually produced by not stirring the beef around. Once the beef looks like it’s almost cooked through, turn each piece over carefully and allow the other side to cook through too. Remove from your pan or wok.
This beef stir fry is best served with chinese broccoli (otherwise known as gai larn or kai lan), choi sum or bok coy. My mum used to pick whatever looked the freshest from our local Asian grocery store, but these days you can easily buy these Asian vegetables from your favourite supermarket. Here, Rick has added red capsicum to the bok choy for some extra colour (plus, we always have spare capsicum in our fridge, I’m not sure why).
And of course, rice. Or if you’re short on time, cook up some rice noodles. Either way – this is seriously the best beef stir fry you’ll have in a very long time. Even our boys love it. Now, that’s saying something, right?
(Linking up with The Organised Housewife.)