Beef or Pork in Garlic Sauce

This is another recipe that is originally from Sichuan – like the Eggplant in Garlic Sauce it is at once spicy, slightly sweet, and a bit sour. The Mandarin name, yuxiang rousi (literally “fish fragrance meat shreds”), comes from a style of cooking fish using the mixed fragrances/flavors of garlic, scallion, ginger, hot pepper sauce, Sichuan pepper powder, sugar, and vinegar. The list of ingredients would seem overwhelming except that most are simply combined before incorporating into the dish.

The recipe can be made with beef or pork with slightly different results. In either case, I urge you to seek out pastured meat, which will not only provide you with an amazing flavor experience but also have less impact on the environment. For more on this topic, see “The cost of steak”.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb lean beef or pork, cut into fine shreds (1/8×1/8×1.5″), approximately 1 c
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 T dried wood ear (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root, shredded
  • 1 cl garlic, sliced
  • 2 scallions, cut thinly on the diagonal

marinade:

sauce:

  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp black vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar, brown or raw cane is best
  • 1/8 tsp ground Sichuan pepper or white pepper
  • 1 T chili sauce, such as sriracha
  • 1 tsp hot pepper oil, more to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 T water

method:

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients with the meat shreds and allow to sit for 10-20 m. Mix in 1 T oil.
  2. Soak the wood ears in hot water approximately 10 m, rinse to remove all the grit, cut out the tough sections, then cut into shreds about the same size as the meat.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 T oil in the wok until it shimmers, then quickly stirfry the woodears and salt. Remove to a plate, leaving the oil in the wok, and reheat the wok.
  5. Explode the garlic and ginger just until fragrant, then add the meat and stirfry quickly until the shreds begin to separate.
  6. Add the woodears and the scallions, stir well.
  7. Give the sauce a quick stir and add to the wok.
  8. Bring to a simmer (don’t allow it to come to a rolling boil, particularly not with pasture meat), and stir gently until the sauce thickens and the starch is cooked out, approximately 1-2 m. Do not overcook at this point, or the meat will release too much of its juices – it will become tough and the sauce will thin out.

nutritional data:

Like the Eggplant in Garlic Sauce, this is a tough recipe to “healthify”: it contains large amounts of sodium (32% of the average healthy adult’s daily recommended MAXIMUM intake!) and a rather large amount of fat compared to a lot of other recipes I regularly cook. I have reduced the amounts of both somewhat but tried to maintain the authentic flavor of the dish. My best advice would be to serve this as part of a larger meal with lots of brown rice and vegetable-centered dishes (such as the Steamed Vegetable Mountain) that contain less sodium and fat to balance it out. Everything in moderation….

Hard nutritional facts forthcoming – it’s time to do a few laps around the park before my real job starts!

ETA:

Back to finishing up the hard facts: I used beef flank, omitted the wood ears and chili oil. The recipe serves 4 as part of a larger meal, figures below are per serving.

  • Total calories 144, calories from fat 66
  • Total fat 7 g, saturated fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 20 mg
  • Sodium 763 mg
  • Total carbs 6 g, dietary fiber 0 g, sugars 3 g
  • Protein 13 g
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