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Thursday 12 August 2010

Sluttishly Savoury: Spicy Beef with Broccoli

Fish sauce is a very strange substance. It smells pretty disgusting, and considering it's made from fermented anchovies that's not entirely surprising. Splash it into a dish like this though, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the salty, savoury depth it gives.

It's a bit like a Thai Lea & Perrins - I wouldn't want to drink it neat, but it adds a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to a stir fry, especially when combined with some brown sugar for sweetness.

It's powerful stuff though, so go easy!

Spicy Beef with Broccoli (serves 2)

You'll need:
  • A head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 400g beef steak - I used minute steak
  • Cornflour, enough to coat the beef
  • Plenty of vegetable oil
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced finely
  • A few spring onions, sliced finely
  • A splash of fish sauce
  • A glug of soy sauce
  • A sprinkle of palm sugar, or regular brown sugar if you don't have any
Make it!
  • First blanch the broccoli by plunging it into a pan of salted boiling water for a couple of minutes. Leave it to drain in a colander.
  • Slice the steak into small strips and toss in the cornflour.
  • Pour oil into a wok until it is about 1cm deep. Put the chillies, garlic and spring onions into the cold oil and turn on the heat til they start to sizzle. Once the garlic is golden brown, scoop everything out of the oil and set to one side on kitchen towel. Keep the oil in the wok, you'll need it.
  • Now fry the beef in the same oil until crisped up nicely.
  • Remove most of the oil from the pan and discard (not down the sink though, that would be terribly naughty).
  • Return the beef, broccoli and garlic mixture to the pan and stir through on the heat. Add the fish sauce, soy and palm sugar. That's it! Phew. Serve it with some noodles or rice, or all on its lonesome.

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