One of the first things I look forward to when I visit my homeland (besides doubles and bake and shark sandwiches) is the island influenced Chinese food, which is a huge part of our everyday culinary landscape. As I’ve talked about in the past, the Chinese (workers who came to the Caribbean after slavery was abolished) contribution to our melting pot is tremendous and on islands like Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Guyana it’s quite evident in the passion we have for such dishes.
This spicy beef noodle stir fry is yet another one of those dishes where you’ll see a Caribbean stamp on a classic Chinese dish.
1/4 lb beef (sliced thin)
1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
8 oz egg noodle (cook according to package directions)
2 cups bean sprouts (or cabbage)
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (diced fine – no seeds)
2 cups sweet pepper (bell – different colors)
1 cup broccoli
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 table spoon vegetable oil (divided)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup snow peas
For the sauce….
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Tip: To get thinly sliced beef, firm it a bit in the freezer. If it’s fully thawed it may be difficult to handle.
It’s important when doing a stir fry that you have everything prepped as the goal is to cook fast on high heat. So with your beef sliced thin, season it with the salt, grated ginger and the five spice powder (see Asian and West Indian grocery stores for this) and allow it to marinate for about 10 minutes. In the meantime peel, chop and cube your vegetables. Remember to try and keep them uniform in size so they cook evenly.
Tip 2. I usually cook the noodles before and allow it to drain and cool a bit. Follow the package cooking instructions, but cut back on the boiling time a bit. So if it says to boil for 6 minutes, only do so for 4 minutes. You don’t want to risk it being overcooked and soggy when you add it to dish.
In a wok or huge non-stick frying pan heat 2 tablespoon of the veg oil and add the seasoned beef. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and heat for a minute. Now add the sliced onion and grated garlic.. cook for a minute, then start adding the vegetables, except the bean sprouts and scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
The idea is to soften up the vegetables, allow it to release it’s flavors, but still have a little crunch to them. Move the vegetables to the side to form a sort of hole in the middle of the pan and add all the ingredients for the sauce. We need to heat it a bit to really release their flavors. Now mix everything well so the vegetables are coasted with this lovely sauce. The orange juice may seem a bit strange, but trust me on this.
Add the pre-cooked beef back to the wok, top with the cooked noodles and toss well. Now it’s time to top with the bean sprouts and chopped scallions and mix well.Cook for a further minute or 2.
This is one of those one pot meals, where you’ll have your vegetables, protein (beef) and carbs from the noodles.. the flavors from the ingredients in the sauce we made will be outstanding and the fact that we cooked this quickly on high heat will give it a wonderful texture. Don’t sleep on the ginger and 5 spice powder we marinated to beef with as it will certainly get your taste buds exploding with excitement.
Remember when handling hot peppers like scotch bonnet to wear gloves, wash your hands immediately after with soap and water and don’t include any seeds. The seeds and white membrane surrounding the seeds is where the killer-heat will be.
There was enough here for 4-5 people in case you’re wondering.