Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beef Steak and Mushroom Stir Fry with Homemade Shaved Noodles (刀削面, dao xiao mian)

I know my posting of late has fallen in frequency... school started back (I'm a teacher), so I've been busier. I've still been cooking, though! In fact, I made a lovely little dish the other night with a nice flat iron steak I got at a great price: Stir-fried beef steak with mushrooms, which I served with homemade shaved pasta, i.e. 刀削面, dao xiao mian (a bit like this, but with mushrooms in place of the leeks). It was, as I expected, great. Here's what the finished dish looked like:
beef steak and mushroom stir fry with homemade shaved pasta noodlesIt was, as usual, pretty easy too... since I took care to remember (as is always important in making Asian food and many other kinds of dishes) to get everything prepared before I started the proper cooking (technically, I started the boiling water before anything else because that takes a long time). Here's how I did it:

dough to make whole wheat 刀削面, dao xiao mian pasta noodlesFirst, I salted some water and started heating it to boil, probably about a gallon. Then I put a bit over two cups of flour into a bowl (sifted, in case of monsters or marbles) and mixed it with just about half a cup of water and a pinch of salt. One quarter of the flour was 100% whole wheat. With some mixing and then mashing and then kneading, I worked it into a ball of rather dry dough and put it back into the bowl to wait for me.

slicing shiitake mushrooms to make beef steak and mushroom stirfryWhile the dough waited for me, I prepared some veggies. I started with garlic (always start with garlic) and crushed and finely chopped two cloves. Then I cut ten paper-thin, cross-sectional slices of ginger (carefully!) and then cut up a carrot into matchsticks about an inch long. After cutting off the stems, I then sliced (as shown) five shiitake mushrooms into thin strips. I finished by halving and thinly slicing a sweet onion and eight white mushrooms.

my cutting board covered in sliced vegetables for making beef steak and mushroom stir fryHere's my veggies all chopped up and ready to go.

sliced beef steak for making beef steak and mushroom stir fry with 刀削面, dao xiao mian pasta noodlesThe next thing to do was move the vegetables from the nice arrangement on the board above so I could cut up the steak: a lovely little 1.25-pound flat-iron steak. As you can see, I cut it into thin strips about an inch and a half long. Once it was cut, I was ready to get down to business, which started by heating a wok over rather high heat with a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil (canola oil would be okay too) in it. I also observed that my water was boiling (finally!). The veggies, not including the garlic and ginger, went into the pan first, and except for a pinch of salt, they were left unseasoned and stir-fried rather vigorously for about a minute. Then I turned the heat way down and let them soften a bit while I shaved the pasta dough into the water, pulling and pinching it at the end to preserve the ends of my fingers.

Once the pasta was in the boiling water, I poured the contents of the wok onto a plate and turned the heat back to quite high (just barely below "high") and added a little more oil. Once the wok was hot, I put in the garlic and ginger for about fifteen seconds before adding the meat. All of that got stir-fried for about a minute and a half and then I drained the finished noodles, which needed, all-in-all, about 3-4 minutes to cook through (and float to tell me they were done). As soon as I finished draining the pasta, I tossed in a pinch of red pepper flakes, about a tablespoon of soy sauce, stirred it around, and then added the veggies back into the pan. Note that the meat was obviously not cooked through yet -- I didn't want to overcook it and make it tough. After about another minute or so of mixing the ingredients in the pan together and making sure the meat was all cooked on the outsides, I added the pasta and mixed things up again. Another minute or so later, I turned off the pan and garnished by sprinkling about a half teaspoon of unhulled sesame seeds over the top. It came out beautifully and to the tremendous enjoyment of the whole family -- even the child that hates mushrooms loved it!

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