Archive for November, 2014

November 5, 2014

Beef and Scallions in Sweet Bean Sauce


I love this sweet and saucy dish. Great for wraps. Think of it as a Chinese taco. Make a bunch of dishes, then pass out thin, flour “tortillas” and make your own wrap. Paired with bright and crisp curlicues of green onion, this enticing dish can easily enter anyone’s repertoire. (Do I sound like a commercial yet?) The sauce is called Tian Mian Jang and it’s the base for Peking Duck sauce. Not the same as hoisen, oyster, chili bean sauce, or any other sauce. Sweet Bean Sauce is what you’re looking for. Next experiment with this stuff: zha jiang mian.

Please don’t buy pre-cut stir fry beef at the super market. You will invariably get tough, chewy, totally inedible rubber bands. I really don’t know what cut of beef is usually used for stir fry, and I suspect there IS no one cut used for stir fry. I wandered into the grocery store with nothing specific in mind. The top round roast looked pretty promising. So that’s what I bought. Turned out perfectly tender.

On cutting stir fry strips (beef or pork)

  • FREEZE your beef for a few hours before cutting. This will make your life easier as the meat will be stiff and not slide around the cutting board/against your knife. Do not freeze overnight or it’ll be a solid block of meat ice.
  • Cut on the diagonal and you wont ever have to worry about what is with/against the grain.
  • While cutting on the diagonal, slice your chunk of meat into thin, round slices. Then stack said slices and cut again to form strips.


  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 0.5 lb beef, top round, cut in strips
  • sauce
    • 2 tbs tian mian jang/sweet bean paste
    • 1 tsp rice wine (michiu)
    • 1 tbs water
    • 0.5 tsp brown sugar
  • marinade:
    • 2 tbs soy sauce
    • 1 tsp rice wine
    • 1/2 tsp corn starch


  1. Place sliced green onion in a large bowl of ice and water. Set aside. (Can do this the day before). This will create nice plump and curly green onions. It’ll also cut some of the bite. Drain and gently pat dry. Pile on serving plate and set aside.
  2. Marinate beef for 30+ minutes. Dissolve corn starch in liquid, then add meat.
  3. Heat skillet over medium high heat until smoking hot. Add 1 tbs oil, swish to coat pan until it just starts to shimmer, then add beef. Cold pan = meat sticking to pan. Toss and stir fry until juuuust barely pink. Remove and set aside.
  4. Mix sauce and pour into hot pan. Let it bubble and thicken. Stir for 1-2 minutes or so. Add meat back in and toss to coat, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour beef over green onions. Serve with rice or chinese “tortilla” wraps.