The end of year festivities are coming up, Christmas is almost here! I offer you a selection of festive recipes to delight your taste buds and your guests. Tarama, foie gras, logs, I give you all my secrets. There are in this selection, recent recipes and others that I have published for nearly 12 years, so the photos are not all equal! Just click on the recipes to access them!
It’s possible to have a very tender beef while being well cooked! Here I give you all the secrets to get a melt-in-the-mouth beef with a well-balanced sauce, accompanied by lots of sautéed onions. I had already explained in a few recipes the secret to have a tender meat. Ever notice that beef is always tender in Asian restaurants? Click quickly on the recipe to read all my explanations on this subject!
I really struggled with this recipe. I had to go over it 4 times to find a good compromise between a cheap meat that would fit perfectly in this recipe and the dosage of bicarbonate. To tenderize the meat, the Chinese use a well known means: sodium bicarbonate. But the explanations usually stop at this level. No proportions and no explanations of use. I really wanted to understand what quantities were used. Some people will not want to use bicarbonate. I don’t understand why, because used sparingly, it tenderizes the meat perfectly and doesn’t add any flavor or take it away if there isn’t too much. And if someone tells me that it is enough to put a very good meat, then I will say that the meat is very expensive (and moreover, we will see it below, but we risk to spoil the meat with the cooking.)
My problem at the beginning was precisely that I put too much: the meat foamed during cooking because I added too much water and it had no taste: it was horrible! Then I put less, but I didn’t leave it on long enough, so the meat was too tough. It should be noted that the meat is normally cooked in a very hot wok and the cooking time is 3-4 minutes at most. I went to the kitchen where I teach my classes (the small pots) where there is a very strong gas. I tried my recipe and it baked very quickly. But at home, the cooking time is often longer and as a result the meat hardens (hence the uselessness of using expensive meat!!). So I analyzed everything and put it back together. It was necessary on top of that, that I dose the sauce going with…
I also met a friend, Véronique, whose father was a restaurant owner and Chinese. So he advised me on how to use the bicarbonate. It’s an open secret.
And this time it is the good one! So I put some meat to melt and I put only a third of a teaspoon of bicarbonate and I let it work overnight. It’s chemical: the bicarbonate breaks down the proteins of the meat: the meat keeps its taste (if not more than the proportions indicated in my recipe) but softens, even after a 10 minutes cooking.
We also read sometimes that the marinade is enough: this is not true. The meat will lose its water while cooking (if there is no bicarbonate) and it’s a guaranteed disaster!
We also read that it is enough to add starch to the meat: corn, potato, tapioca… It helps if you have a wok and a strong fire. Let me explain: the starch will create a small crust that will prevent the water from escaping from the meat, thus keeping its softness. But this is true for quick cooking: on a less violent fire at home, the meat will eventually give up its water and harden, even with the starch. So you need bicarbonate: back to square one…
I show here the two cookings: in a traditional wok on a powerful fire and in a less traditional wok on a classic fire. In both cases, the dish is delicious!
So get your chopsticks!
Recipe for 4 people:
-1 tablespoon of Chinese vinegar
-ground black pepper
Put the meat in a container.
Add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.
Chinese wine, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper.
Mix well and let marinate for one hour.
Put a medium amount of oil (sunflower or grape seed) in a hot wok. Add chopped ginger and garlic.
(Here we are talking about cooking in the real wok on a high heat).
Add the meat.
Stir well to sauté the meat.
Then add the sliced onions.
The sauce disappears quickly and the meat will caramelize slightly.
Cook as much as you want, the meat will normally remain quite tender.
Serve hot with plain rice!
In any case, the meat will be very tender and full of taste!