Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Ginger Tomato Beef | Fried Sweet Rice with Sausages and Mushrooms

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young

This week we have a two for one. Fried Sweet Rice with Sausages and Mushrooms which was due at the beginning of last month, and this month's recipe of Stir-Fried Ginger Tomato Beef.

We'll start with the latter.

Oh. My. Goodness. The ginger tomato beef is fabulous!

I only wish that I had made plain white rice to go with it. I did not read the narrative at the top of the recipe page beforehand, that reads this stir-fry is saucier than most stir-fries (you can't tell by the picture in the book) - so regular rice would have been a good great idea. There was too much going on in the rice I made. I hadn't planned on serving these dishes together, it just happened that way.

Mise in place.

Bowl 1: Flank steak, ginger, soy sauce, dry sherry, cornstarch, sugar, salt, pepper, sesame oil
Bowl 2: Canned whole tomatoes
Bowl 3: Sugar
Bowl 4: Dark soy sauce, dry sherry, sesame oil
Bowl 5: Scallions

As is the norm with stir-fries, there isn't much work to get a delicious meal on the table. For this dish, the most time consuming part of the recipe was slicing the beef - and that took maybe a minute to do.  The beef is combined with soy sauce, sherry, ginger, cornstarch, sugar, salt, pepper, and sesame oil. This marinates while you prep the rest of your ingredients.

The beef is added to a hot wok and left undisturbed for about a minute, to give it a chance to sear; then it is quickly stir-fried and removed from the wok to be added in later.  The tomatoes and sugar are added next, breaking the tomatoes into smaller pieces with the spatula. The soy sauce mixture (dark soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil) is added to the wok along with the beef and scallions, and stir-fried till the beef is heated and cooked through.

Bam! Done. Delish.

My sister was here for dinner, and she was going on and on, about how good this was. "Is this in my book? Our book? You know the one." Yes. Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge. Page 80. I'm sure she'll be making this in a day or two. It was that good.

And now on to the Fried Sweet Rice with Sausages and Mushrooms:

As I mentioned above, our group made this stir-fry back in the beginning of November. Including myself. Twice. Epic fail. Twice. Determination set in.

As the saying goes, third time's the charm.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shiitake mushrooms, Chinese sausage, garlic
Bowl 2: Rice
Bowl 3: Scallions
Bowl 4: Soy sauce
Bowl 5: Salt, white pepper

The recipe calls for sweet or sushi rice. In my first two attempts at this recipe, I used premium sweet rice. This type, or at least this brand, is extremely glutinous, as evident in the picture below. It was impossible to get the rice grains to separate. I ended up with a sticky mass of mush. This wasn't very pleasant to eat, but, boy did it taste good. I had to get this recipe right.

The glutinous monster.

I thought my first attempt went awry for I had rushed the cooling process. The secret to perfectly fried rice is using cooked cold rice - preferably made the day before. I did not let my rice cool completely (almost - but not quite) before chilling.

So on my second attempt, I brought my rice to work with me, to make sure it had sufficient time to cool completely before being placed in the refrigerator. Still I had issues with the rice being too sticky.

I finally succeeded - though I am not jumping through hoops as I expected. If I had originally used the sushi rice for this stir-fry, I would have written that this was a great tasting dish.

However, Grace mentions in the book, fried rice made with sweet rice, gives an extra richness and bite that is addictively delicious. Addictively, is an understatement.

I'm going to have to experiment with different brands of sweet rice. I really, really, liked the sweet rice; the flavor is far superior to the sushi rice, which to me, tastes like your everyday white rice.  

We are asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 80 (beef recipe) & 260 (rice) of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.  
These two recipes just so happen to be available online (though do get the book for more of Grace's fabulous recipes.):
Ginger tomato beef can be found here at SFGate and the fried rice over at NPR.

Wok Wednesdays is an online cooking group. If you would like information about joining us, click here, or visit us on Facebook. Would love for you to wok along with us!


  1. Double happiness yea! I'm so impressed you made the rice three times and finally success! I think different brands of rice yield different results. And I'm really pleased you and your sister loved the Tomato Beef. This is the dish I associate with the comfort food of my childhood. My parents used to make it with fresh tomatoes. In the winter when tomatoes are so inferior the canned really make a huge difference.

  2. I love your persistence on the rice! I bought some sweet rice with the intention of doing it with the right rice =) You have me convinced on the beef. Oh yeah! Unfortunately, the recipe schedule wasn't up until it was too late to plan. You are my compass!

  3. This may be one of my favorite Wok Wdnesday posts yet. The recipe for the beef sounds amazing, so I may have to do one of two things: take your ingredient list and fale it, or buy the book and head to page 80!

    1. David, you won't be disappointed with the book; I can guarantee that! You are in luck though, I have a link to the recipe at the bottom of my post. Just above the picture of the book.


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