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hzrt8w

Pictorial: Beef with Sa Cha Sauce Clay Pot

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Beef with Sa Cha Sauce Clay Pot (沙茶牛肉粉絲煲)

This is a Cantonese clay pot dish that is very easy to make at home.

Picture of the finished dish:

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Serving Suggestion: 2 to 3

Preparations:

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Main ingredients: (From upper-right, clockwise)

- Beef (flank steak), about 3/4 lb

- Garlic, about 5-6 cloves

- Shallot, 4 cloves

- 2 bundles of mung bean threads

- 1 chili pepper (jalapeno)

- 2 small egg plants

- "Sa Cha" Sauce (Chinese Barbeque Sauce - named by Bullhead brand)

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Cut the flank steak into thin slices (across the grain).

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To marinate the beef: Use a mixing bowl. Add the beef slices. Add 1/2 tsp of ground white pepper, 1 tsp of sesame oil, 2 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine, 1 tsp of light soy sauce, 1-2 tsp of oyster sauce, and a pinch of salt (suggest: 1/4 tsp). (Not shown in picture): add 1-2 tsp of corn starch.

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Mix all the ingredients. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.

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Trim off the ends of the egg plants. Cut into long and slender wedges.

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Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and finely chop the shallots. Cut the jalapeno pepper into thin slices.

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Soak the mung bean threads in a bowl of warm water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Cooking Instructions:

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Use a medium size Chinese clay pot, pre-heat it over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

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Add 1 - 1.5 tblsp of cooking oil. Add the minced garlic, chopped shallots, and sliced jalapeno pepper. Add 1/4 of salt (or to taste).

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Add 2 to 3 tblsp of "Sa Cha" sauce (or called "Chinese Barbeque Sauce" by the Bullhead brand). Note: This is the main feature of this dish. Dash in 2 tsp of ShaoHsing cooking wine.

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Stir well.

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Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/8 cup of water. Add the wedged egg plants. Bring the mixture to a boil (may take about 5 minutes), then reduce heat to medium-slow. Cook with lid on for another 10 minutes or so until egg plants turn soft.

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After 10 minutes or so has passed, use a second stove to heat up a pan/wok. Add 2 tblsp of cooking oil. Sear the marinated beef slices for a few minutes.

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Remove the beef from pan when it is still slightly pink. Drain off excess oil.

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This is how it looks when the egg plants have turned soft. Drain off the water from the soaked mung bean threads. Add mung bean threads to the pot. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the threads turn soft and transparent.

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Test the sauce. If the sauce is too runny, add corn starch slurry (e.g. 1-2 tsp corn starch dissolved in 3 tsp of water) to thicken the sauce.

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Usually the mung bean threads are quite long and difficult to scoop at the dinner table. Use a pair of kitchen sears to cut up the mung bean threads. Give it about 3 to 4 cuts.

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Return the beef to the pot. Mix well with the egg plants and mung bean thread. Bring the whole pot to server at the dinner table.

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Picture of the finished dish.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Oh boy!! I know many of you heat your clay pot without anything in it, but when I saw the picture ----- I was ready to hear a crack!! Is that pot glazed on the outside?

I thought I was the only one to cut noodles with scissors ---right in the pot/dish!

Looks like a nice homey dish, and I like that the steak doesn't seem to be overcooked.

I don't know that brand of Sa Cha sauce. Can others be used?

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My mouth is watering, just looking at those pictures. Could I make this in a regular heavy metal lidded pot as well?


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Oh boy!!  I know many of you heat your clay pot without anything in it, but when I saw the picture ----- I was ready to hear a crack!! Is that pot glazed on the outside?

[...]I don't know that brand of Sa Cha sauce. Can others be used?

My clay pot is glazed both on the inside and the outside. I really like that design. I have been abusing it with high heat for the past 3-4 years. No problem so far.

Bull Head brand is the best Sa Cha sauce I have tasted so far. I have tried a few other ones but they just seem to be missing something.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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My mouth is watering, just looking at those pictures. Could I make this in a regular heavy metal lidded pot as well?

I think so. If you don't have a clay pot, you can even use a regular steel pot to make this dish.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Gosh, I love Sa Cha sauce. I used to buy that brand in college, and we could go through the large size really quickly. It's been a few years now since I've cooked with it but I think it's time to re-visit my old friend!

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This one was a bit more of an adventure for me.

I've never tried making a clay pot before, and to my knowledge, never had Sa Cha Sauce.

But, the dish looked good, and seemed like it would make a nice fast weeknight dinner.

Unfortunately, the closest Asian specialty store was closed (Sign in window saying "Spring Break"!?), which forced me a bit further afield to find Sa Cha Sauce. So, at lunch, I took the N to 19th and Judah, figuring I could find something there. And indeed I found a very nice Asian grocery which even had the Bullhead Brand of Sa Cha sauce.

Thanks to Ah Leung's wonderful pictures and notes, preparation was no problem, though I made do with a dutch oven instead of springing for a clay pot.

The fishy flavor of the sauce wasn't really a surprise, since I'd read the ingredients; but, it was interesting, since I'd never had Chinese food that used these sorts of flavors before.

Definitely something I'll make again.

One question, though. I don't remember seeing recipes which use white pepper in the Chinese cookbooks I've used. Is this a personal touch?

-Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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One question, though.  I don't remember seeing recipes which use white pepper in the Chinese cookbooks I've used.  Is this a personal touch?

-Erik

Can I take a stab at that -- the white pepper?

It's been around in Chinese cooking as long as black pepper -- since antiquity. Some of my cookbooks use it frequently and some chefs seem to use it exclusively. It is supposed to be the "hot" in Hot and Sour Soup -- and it is often used when you want to keep the color purity in a dish as in a creamed sauce. (Napa Cabbage in White Sauce)

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One question, though.  I don't remember seeing recipes which use white pepper in the Chinese cookbooks I've used.  Is this a personal touch?

-Erik

Can I take a stab at that -- the white pepper?

It's been around in Chinese cooking as long as black pepper -- since antiquity. Some of my cookbooks use it frequently and some chefs seem to use it exclusively. It is supposed to be the "hot" in Hot and Sour Soup -- and it is often used when you want to keep the color purity in a dish as in a creamed sauce. (Napa Cabbage in White Sauce)

At the risk of taking this topic even further off on a tangent, I want to piggy-back on this with another question about pepper in Chinese cooking.

Whenever I go into an Asian grocery store, I find a large selection of pepper--white, black, ground and whole peppercorns. But I never see anything labeled as Szechuan peppercorns (even now that the US ban is supposedly off). I do see various bottles of peppercorns whose English labeling says something like "special pepper" or "special quality pepper" or similar. Are these just marketing-speak, or is this some code for "Szechuan peppercorns"--or do they have some other significance? (Heh. I see I'm going to have to learn to recognize at least a few Chinese characters if I'm going to get any further along in my appreciation. :biggrin: )

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At the risk of taking this topic even further off on a tangent, I want to piggy-back on this with another question about pepper in Chinese cooking.

Whenever I go into an Asian grocery store, I find a large selection of pepper--white, black, ground and whole peppercorns. But I never see anything labeled as Szechuan peppercorns (even now that the US ban is supposedly off). I do see various bottles of peppercorns whose English labeling says something like "special pepper" or "special quality pepper" or similar. Are these just marketing-speak, or is this some code for "Szechuan peppercorns"--or do they have some other significance? (Heh. I see I'm going to have to learn to recognize at least a few Chinese characters if I'm going to get any further along in my appreciation. :biggrin: )

Here are some pictures of what they look like. You'll be able to select them because regular pepper doesn't look like them:

http://images.google.com/images?sourceid=n...rns&sa=N&tab=wi

And these characters should be on the package.

花椒 - Flower pepper

And maybe the province of Sichuan:

四川

The package might say 'fagara' on it. If so then you've struck gold --- er-- pepper!

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[...]

One question, though.  I don't remember seeing recipes which use white pepper in the Chinese cookbooks I've used.  Is this a personal touch?

Erik: You have brought up a very interesting question.

For me, I use white pepper most of the time in marination because that's what my father taught me and I like the taste of it.

I went out and visited some of the "outstanding recipe sites" that I had posted the links to and looked at how other people do it. I found that the result was half and half. Some people use white pepper, some don't.

I think I am not alone in using white pepper in Chinese cooking. But you can have your personal adaptation: use black pepper or not use pepper at all.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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[...]

Whenever I go into an Asian grocery store, I find a large selection of pepper--white, black, ground and whole peppercorns. But I never see anything labeled as Szechuan peppercorns (even now that the US ban is supposedly off). I do see various bottles of peppercorns whose English labeling says something like "special pepper" or "special quality pepper" or similar. Are these just marketing-speak, or is this some code for "Szechuan peppercorns"-

[...]

The English naming of Sichuan peppercorn has been very inconsistent. I think that partly perhaps was related to the USA's ban a couple years earlier. I looked at the bottle of Sichuan peppercorn powder that I bought. The label said "Red Pepper Powder". How about that? :laugh:

I think the safest thing to do is to cut out jo-mel's Chinese characters in print and take them with you to the store and confirm by the Chinese label. So far I haven't seen any confusing label in Chinese.


W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

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Aha! This recipe will be perfect for using the sa cha sauce I recently discovered in the pantry. Can't wait to try it, probably next week.

It really pays off to revisit the Pictorials thread on a regular basis. Such inspiration.

Thanks for all your efforts.

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