I lived in Wellington for 8 years, more than half of that time in a student flat (2-5-4!!). What's the single most-important thing to students? (I can hear parents screaming 'good grades', and you're all wrong) Food. And drinks to wash said food down with (or as a stand-alone food-replacement). Problem is, students typically don't have much money. Which means that once the essentials are bought - beer, wine, hooch and toilet paper - there ain't much left over for fancy dining. Enter Genghis Khan - Lord of Four Colours and Five Tongues, Supreme Khan of the Mongols, and Saviour of Wellingtonians' appetites.
There was (and still is) a Mongolian BBQ restaurant, Genghis Khan's, on Marjoribanks St in Mt Vic, where from $15 you could get a mean feed of fresh, tasty Mongolian BBQ, cooked on the massive hotplates in front of you. Add that it's BYO, carn- and herbivore-friendly and they give you free unlevened Mongol bread, and you can imagine the haven it was in our student days. I remember many a birthday celebrated around their big round tables, with Sophie, Millie, Kush, Anna, Louise, Rose, Andy, Rosie, Vinnes Dusty and Tom, to name but a few. Raise your glasses Wellington!
Anyhoo, moving on to the point I am (albeit slowly) getting to. Yesterday morning I got an email from Mindfood, with a few recipes suggestions on it. One was for a Mongolian-style lamb stirfry. Hello, I thought, Gengys... We didn't have any lamb in the freezer, but did have plenty of beef, celery in the garden and (randomly) some Chinese five-spice in the pantry. So, Mongolian beef stirfry it was. And it was AMAZING. I mean, we knew it'd be yum, 'cause you can't really go wrong with stirfry - fresh veges, marinade, herbs and spice. But this was beyond good, and it was the beef that changed it up. The beef was marinated for an hour or so in the fridge, but the marinade had (in addition to soy sauce etc) an egg, some cornflour and a little baking soda in it. So when I fried the beef (in batches - very important, don't overload your pan, or they'll just end up boiling in too much juice, without space to brown), the marinade sort of puffed up and went a bit foamy. The result with beef fried in and lovely marinade coat. About a quarter of our meat didn't make it into the stirfry, 'cause we kept eating it off the plate...
So, give this a whirl - it was one of the quickest meals I've made in a long time, other than marinating the meat for an hour or so (but it's not like you have to watch it or anything). And I reckon I'll be doing the beef again, just as a nibble when friends are around, or as something to put in burritos, pitas... Yum. Cheers Genghis!
500 g beef (I sliced up a large piece of rump nice and thin - try to go against the grain)
1 egg, whisked
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cm ginger, finely grated
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp black bean sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tsp five-spice powder
1 onion, diced
veges - we used carrot sticks, mushrooms, broccoli florets, a couple of celery sticks and half a capsicum
fresh herbs - we used mint and thyme
coriander, to serve
oil, for frying
rice or egg noodles
- Slice up meat (place in freezer for 15 minutes, as this wil make it a bit firmer, and easier to cut). Combine egg, garlic, ginger, soy, brown sugar, cornflour and baking soda in a bowl. Add slices of beef, toss to combine well, cover and refridgerate for an hour (or until you're ready for it).
- Combine black bean sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, chilli and five-spice in a jug with 2 tbsp water. Set aside - this will be your stir-fry sauce. If you have some hoi sin sauce, you can use this instead of fish sauce and chilli. Probably use 1 tbsp of hoi sin.
- Heat a little oil in wok, and start stir-frying your veges. Once veges are on their way, heat oil in another pan and fry beef in batches. Transfer to a plate until ready to add to veges (pretty much at the last minute, 'cause you don't want it overcooked).
- Cook noodles, or rice.
- Fold beef and herbs (not coriander) through veges and heat through. If using noodles, fold these through too, or serve on rice. Plate up and top with some fresh coriander.