A seasonal recipe! Cauliflower is very October, which is all the excuse I needed to make this tonight. I’m sure I must have learnt this from my mum although I can’t actually remember her making it in living memory… Anyway! Promise you it’s better than its takeaway equivalent 🙂 Don’t be put off by the prep and cook time, mostly it’s time spent leaving stuff to do its thing so is not as heinous as it might look at first glance.
Cut up the cauliflower and put the pieces into a collander, wash thoroughly and leave to dry. Slice the onions, and mince or finely chop the garlic.
In a medium sized bowl (anything bigger than a cereal bowl should be fine) mix the oil, cornstarch and sugar for the marinade. You’re aiming for a consistency like runny honey so add a little more oil if its too thick or a little more cornstarch if its too thin.
Next, slice the rump steak very thinly – a Chinese cheat is to put it in the freezer an hour beforehand – and then add the slices to the marinade bowl and stir well to coat the steak. Leave for 15-30mins.
Heat a generous tbsp of oil in the wok over a medium high heat and then add the cauliflower pieces and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes (I like to let the edges singe a little). Season well with salt (and a spinkle of chicken powder if you have any) before adding a cup of water. Put a lid on it and turn the heat right up until all the water has evaporated. When the wok is “dry” again remove the cauliflower to a plate and set aside.
Put the wok back on a medium heat and add about a tbsp of oil. When it’s hot add the sliced onion and stir-fry until they are soft and translucent. Add the minced/chopped garlic and keep it moving about in the oil for about a minute without letting it burn before adding the marinaded steak. Keep moving everything to break up any clumps of steak or onions and to ensure an even stir fry.
As soon as the steak is sealed and browned all over (don’t worry if there are a few bits still pink) tip the cauliflower back into the wok and then add 4-5 good shakes of oyster sauce straight out of the bottle.
Stir to coat everything in the wok well, then add 1/2 to 1 cup of cold water and stir again. The cornstarch in the marinade should thicken the sauce a little as the added water heats up. When the liquid starts to bubble at the edges turn the heat down until the sauce is simmering and leave it for about five minutes.
This is a bit of a spur of the moment post! I rustled these up for lunch and thought they looked good enough to snap, and the pics turned out well enough that it would have been sad not to use them. So here’s a quick and tasty weekend lunch dish, as scoffed by me today 🙂
I should start by confessing to being a total noodle-head. I love them in pretty much any shape or sauce I can get my hands on – ramen noodles, chow mein noodles, Singapore noodles, Pad Thai noodles, udon noodles, Malaysian style char-grilled street noodles, even pot noodles (don’t judge me!). But I was never much good at making them myself (except for the ramen and pot varieties, obviously) and it wasn’t until I watched the way my mum sauced the egg noodles last year, and saw her tricksy way of doing it, that I finally made any myself that I was happy with. Like these!
I’ve found that these really only work with the thinnest of egg noodles, and would rather wait until they’re back in stock than use medium if that’s all the store has. And it’s not a meat heavy dish so you can buy a small cut of steak, even half of what I’d use for a strog for example. In fact, I’ve quite happily made these in a vegetarian stylee with just the broccoli and it was still tasty good. The trick is making sure the noodles themselves have enough flavour… but more about that later 🙂
PS – I think the writing up of how to make these actually took twice as long as actually making them!!
Beef & Broccoli Noodles
A simple, classic noodle dish that's perfect for a lazy weekend lunch.
1 packet Broccoli spears (if you can’t get spears, broccoli florets cut up so that they’re fairly thin work too)
Rump steak, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic
Oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee or bust!)
Dark soy sauce
Corn / vegetable oil
Chinese chilli oil, optional
Salt for seasoning
Knorr chicken powder, optional
Halve any large broccoli spears, or cut up your broccoli florets, and rinse under cold water.
Skin the garlic clove and put it in the garlic crush, but don’t crush it yet, and set aside.
Thinly slice the rump steak. Fill the wok with enough water to cook the noodles in, and heat on a high heat until it’s boiling. Fill the mixing bowl about 2/3rds full of cold water and set near the sink.
When the water in the wok is boiling, pop the noodles in and cook per the packet instructions (usually for about 3 minutes) using chopsticks , or cooking tongs, to loosen the noodles up as they’re cooking.
When they’re ready, pour out over a sieve and drain the noodles, shaking as much loose water out, and then tip the noodles into the bowl of cold water and leave them for just now.
Dry the wok and then set it back over a medium-high heat with a slug of corn oil. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and stir fry for about 3 minutes, adding salt to season and a little scattering of chicken powder if you’re using it (I like my stir fried broccoli a little browned at the edges so tend to whack the heat up during this bit).
After the 3 minutes or so is up (or you have enough brown bits!) add just enough tap water to cover the bottom of the wok. Put a lid on the wok and leave it on the heat until the water has all disappeared – this should steam the hard crunch out of the broccoli without over-cooking it. Try a bit and if it’s still too crunchy for you then add a wee bit of water and steam again. When your broccoli is cooked to taste, remove to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Add a little more corn oil to the wok, crush your garlic into it and then throw in the rump steak quickly, so that the garlic doesn’t have a chance to burn. You really just want to flash fry the steak and should only need to fry it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nothing (or almost nothing if you’re more of a medium-rare person) looks raw or bloody.
Add a couple of dashes of soy sauce and move everything around the wok for another minute, then empty the steak and soy sauce over the broccoli.
Put the wok back on the heat, add a little more corn oil, and while that’s heating pour the noodles back into the sieve and drain off all the cold water. Shake to get rid of any lingering water before adding the noodles to the wok. Chilling the noodles before trying to cook with them just stops them from clagging together and becoming an immovable mass of noodle that you can’t work with. For some reason, cold noodles are just easier to move around. Bit like how you really can’t make fried rice with hot rice, just cold. But I digress!
Now we get to the saucing of the noodles, the Chinese way, or maybe it’s just my Chinese mum’s way, but it works!
Pour some corn oil over the noodles, it helps the noodles to move and not clag together.
Add a few good glugs of oyster sauce and some Chinese chilli oil (fifi says... if you're not used to this, be sparing at first as it can be quite potent. You can always add more later if you need to, which is far easier than trying to get the chilli out!).
Take your chopsticks, or tongs if you find them easier to use, to the noodles and just shoogle them about to coat the noodles evenly with sauce while you’re reheating them (fifi says... my mum actually dons the trusty CSI gloves and gets her hands stuck into the mass of noodles to do the shoogling. I haven't been quite that brave. Yet...).
Add more oyster sauce and/or chilli oil if you think it needs it, and shoogle well again. If the noodles start sticking together then add a little more corn oil. Taste again, and if you think it still needs more sauce then have at it. Basically, sauce to taste. And keep shoogling them about in the wok until they are hot (heat hot, not chilli hot).
Share the noodles between two bowls (tongs are really good for getting a grip on the by now slippery noodles), top with the still warm broccoli and steak, and tuck in!