A Spoonful of Ginger: Recipe of the Week

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We introduce a series of recipes on a Treehugger theme, selected by Kelly Rossiter of Toronto. These simple recipes are designed to get you cooking yourself rather than stopping at the local deli counter or phoning for pizza and then dealing with all the waste packaging afterward. This being Treehugger, there will be vegan and vegetarian recipes but we aren't doctrinaire and will include meat recipes as well. The focus will be on dishes using seasonal produce which you can get locally; at this time of the year in our local market that means root vegetables. The grocery stores in Toronto sell tomatoes shipped from great distances- a novice juggler could use them to practice without any deleterious effect on their taste or texture. We would choose a tin of locally grown tomatoes canned at the height of summer rather than the imported fruit. If the thought of soaking beans all night and then cooking them for hours is keeping you from including legumes in your diet then open that can of beans. We will introduce you to a variety of cookbooks and help you find them.

We are starting the series with Garlic Beef with Broccoli from A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds. This Asian cookbook is full of information about the use of food as medicine in the Chinese culture. The recipes are simple and clear and the book is in constant use in this household. For those of you who might overindulge in the coming weeks there are also tonics for hangover and teas to detoxify.Garlic Beef with Broccoli

1 ½ lb flank steak or boneless sirloin


3 ½ tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or sake
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 ½ lbs broccoli, broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli
5 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ tbsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup rice wine or sake, mixed with 3 tbsp of water

Sauce (mixed together)

½ cup chicken broth or water
6 tbsp oyster sauce
1 ½ tbsp rice wine or sake
1 ½ tbsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
1 ½ tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp minced scallion greens

1. Cut beef across the grain into thin slices about 1/8 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1 inch squares. Put beef in bowl, add premixed marinade and toss lightly to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator.

2. Separate the broccoli florets into bite-size pieces

3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add broccoli and cook for about 3 ½ or 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain in a colander and refresh under cold water. Drain again.

4. Heat a wok or a large skillet, add 3 ½ tbsp of oil and heat until near smoking. Add beef and stir fry over high heat until it loses its raw colour and the pieces separate. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Clean out pan.

5. Reheat pan adding the remaining oil adding garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 15 seconds or until fragrant, then add broccoli and rice wine-water mixture and toss lightly to heat through. Add the sauce and cook until it thickens, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add the cooked beef and toss until the meat is heated through and everything is coated with the sauce. Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve with rice.

Serves 6

Nina Simonds says "Broccoli with its cooling nature and beef with its warming nature make a compatible and balanced pair for a stir-fry. Beef also increases qi, or energy in the body, and is prescribed for general weakness" Sounds like the perfect antidote for the season.

::A Spoonful of Ginger at Amazon

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