I always try my best to give us a good variety of food. As I have said many times, we eat everything and we love all different kinds of ethnic foods too. I tend to go through cycles where we eat a lot of one type of food for awhile, and then it is time to switch and take things into a new direction. Since I grew up in Southern California, and my mother was from Southeast Texas, I never get tired of good Mexican food. I literally could eat it everyday. Larry, on the other hand, likes Mexican food but tires of it more easily than I do. Fortunately I have a ton of cookbooks from which to choose, so I never have to make the same thing or the same type of food if I don’t want to. There are many different options and varieties available, and all I have to do is check out my own culinary library.
Even though China is a huge country, there are really only four main styles of Chinese cooking, at least that have become popular globally. They are all very different and have their own unique styles.
- Northern and Peking Style cooking, which is famous for the sweet and sour sauces, and cooking wine based dishes using a lot of garlic, hoison sauce, sesame oil, green onions, soy sauce and yeasty doughs, such as for noodles or dumplings.
- Shanghai Style of cooking is a very cosmopolitan style of cooking that offers a lot of soups, seafood dishes, as well as rich and delicate meat and poultry dishes.
- Canton cooking is the most popular Chinese style of cooking in the United States. Canton is in the southern region of China. The weather is good and offers a long growing season for rice, vegetables and fruit. There is also 1000 miles of coastline, so seafood dishes are abundant as well. This is the style of cooking that was first introduced to America by the Chinese immigrants who were brought here in the 19th century. It is simple, basic food. It was introduced to the American palate because it was thought to be the most appealing to the local clientele.
- The boldest and most exotic styles of Chinese cooking are the Szechwan and Hunan styles. These styles of cooking are known to be hot and spicy and use a lot of peppers of varying degrees of heat and intensity. The food from these areas are from the Southwestern region of China, that border India, Burma, and Pakistan. Their foods have been influenced by the spices and curries of these countries. Both styles are spicy, but the Hunan is known for being the spicier of the two.
I love all kinds, but I do have a preference for the Hunan style because I love spicy foods, and I love curries, especially good Indian or Thai curries. But as always, mix and match things to your liking and choose what is best for you.
We had some thin sirloin steaks down that were too thin to just use on their own, so I turned them into a beef and broccoli stir-fry. We haven’t done Asian food in awhile, so it was time. Of course, I added a lot more to my stir-fry than just beef and broccoli. I also added some white onions, mushrooms and red bell pepper strips. I served it over white rice and made some green onion and bacon pancakes to go on the side as well. I served it with a red blend because I was cooking beef. Because I used peppers, red pepper flakes, jalapeno and a bit of sugar this dish was more of a Szechwan style dish.
Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
1 lb lean steak, cut into thin strips
1/4 white onion, sliced very thin
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips – you can also use green bell peppers if you like
1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1 1/2 -2 cups broccoli florets
1 TBSP garlic
1 TBSP ginger
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 TBSP water
1 TBSP sherry
1 TBSP soy sauce
Mix the cornstarch, water, soy sauce, salt, sugar, spices and sherry together, then add the meat and marinate for about 15-20 minutes before cooking.
Cook the meat in hot oil at a high heat for about 2-3 minutes, or until it is browned on the outside, but still a little pink on the inside. Add the vegetables to the meat and continue to cook at a high heat for about 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender yet still have a bit of crunch left to them.
When everything is completely cooked, serve it over either rice or noodles. ”吃好喝好!” ”Chī hǎo hē hǎo! Enjoy your meal!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.