Of all my guilty pleasures (and lord understands, I have numerous), Chinese takeout has got to be one of my guiltiest, in all its greasy, salted, deep-fried, soy-saucy, MSG-enhanced glory.
I couldn’t inform you exactly when this love affair of mine started.
I matured in a household where delivery was basically associated with pizza. We consumed plenty of Chinese food, however it was more of an elegant sit-down meal at the long-defunct Lychee Gardens or Sunday morning dim sum and cart service at Pink Pearl.
And yet, someplace along the path to the adult years I traded in the flat cardboard boxes of extra-cheese-double-olives-and-bacon for styrofoam clamshells stuffed with chubby pan-fried noodles speckled with fragments of BBQ pork and shredded veggies.
Do not get me wrong, pizza is still my most favourite food of all time, however I could not even inform you the last time I bought one. On the other hand, I am essentially on a given name basis with my local Chinese takeout joint.
Now that I’m on this whole healthy-eating bandwagon, though, I’ve needed to cut down on how frequently I’m eating in restaurants.
And regrettably, all of the things that make my precious takeout Chinese so delicious are also the things that make it bad for me. For now, it’s farewell to the sweet-and-sour chicken balls, egg rolls, crispy-fried noodles and General Tao chicken that I enjoy so much.
I fully admit to succumbing to temptation in some cases, but that’s reserved for the absolute worst days. The remainder of the time, I much prefer to make something at home using lighter, healthier techniques.
My latest effort at filling the takeout container sized space in my heart? This fresh and flavourful beef and asparagus stir fry.
It starts with strips of lean beef, which are rapidly marinated with a blend of soy sauce, ginger, chili oil and cornstarch. Then they’re tossed in a hot wok with pieces of fresh asparagus and red pepper and a generous glug of bottled black bean sauce.
This dish has everything I enjoy in my takeout Chinese– bright colours, outrageous flavours, which amazing balance of sweet and salted and spicy in each and every single bite. It is literally the furthest thing from diet plan food you could thing of.
And did I point out that it’s in fact performed in almost the same amount of time it would take for the local takeout joint to deliver?
Sure, contacting an order is still easier, but this variation is almost entirely guilt-free … plus you don’t have to tip the delivery person, either!
This simple stir fry comes together in the time it normally takes for your regional Chinese takeout joint to provide, and it’s much healthier, too. If you can’t get your hands on fresh asparagus, try utilizing green beans or broccoli rather.
- 1 lb striploin steak, cut into thin strips
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp chili oil
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, carefully minced
- 1 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut and cut into 1” lengths
- 1/4 cup bottled black bean stir fry sauce
- In a little bowl, integrate the beef strips with soy sauce, cornstarch, sherry, ginger, and chili oil. Stir together till the beef is equally covered, and set aside to marinade while you slice up the veggies.
- Heat the canola oil in a large non-stick pan set over high heat till it’s just starting to smoke. Add the red pepper, asparagus and garlic, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or up until the asparagus hurts and brilliant green. Get rid of from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Include the beef to the pan, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or till browned. Return the veggies to the pan, and stir in the sauce. Cook for another minute or 2, or till the sauce is warmed through. (If the sauce looks too thick, you can thin it out with water, adding 1 tbsp at a time up until the dish looks saucy enough for your liking.)
- Serve right away on a bed of white rice, and with a fortune cookie for dessert if you’re actually yearning a takeout experience.