This is an updated version of a Beef Broccoli dish I posted a while back. I hope that this version is more user friendly!
Here’s the thing - a lot of people think you have to give up the foods you love in order to go lower carb. Asian food is one that gets thrown to the wayside the quickest.
I love Asian food. Hell, I worked in a hotel that had a Pan-Asian restaurant with food that is seriously off the hook.
What we know as “Asian” food today does not resemble what was traditionally served. Traditional Asian dishes are heavy on vegetables, very light on the meat, and served with a little bit of rice. What we eat on the lavishly extravagant buffets are NOTHING like that tradition. Those buffets are full of heroin.
Carbohydrates are the heroin on the buffet
Have you ever wondered why you are hungry a half hour after eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet?
Like heroin, the more carbohydrates you eat, the more you need. Your body tries to cope with the sugar by burning it off, which in turn makes you want more for fuel.
A typical Asian restaurant all-you-can eat buffet is loaded down with carbs in the form of rices, fried rices, fried foods in wrappers, and sauces that are sugary or watery, thickened sauces of nothing really more than wheat, MSG and flavorings.
Why is this? Carbs are cheap. Meat is expensive. The more you fill up on carbohydrates, the more profit a restaurateur makes. Plus, the carby items are what people demand, so it’s a win-win situation.
Today we will take a classic American-Chinese dish and remake it to fit a more traditional model. That is – more vegetables, with a smattering of meat, and a delicious sauce that will leave you feeling full. 1 pound of meat will serve 6 people. You could serve it with a little bit of rice to get that full “restaurant” effect, but it really is not all that necessary.
5 Spice Beef and Broccoli
- 1 pound beef, thinly sliced (I used ribeye that was on special)
- 2 pounds broccoli (about 2 heads) chopped into fleurettes, stalk peeled and sliced thinly.
- 1 gallon water, boiling
- 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 teaspoons 5 spice powder
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or you could use dry sherry.)
- 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (be sure that it is gluten-free!)
- 1/4 cup shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1/2 cup oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup black vinegar (or in a pinch you could use balsamic vinegar)
- 1 packet stevia
- Cut broccoli into fleurettes, peel the stem and slice thinly. Place all of it into a large bowl; pour boiling water to cover. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain the boiling water from the bowl, and run the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking.
- Meanwhile, trim the fat (reserve) and cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.
- Render the beef fat over low heat in your wok.
- Marinate beef by sprinkling 5 spice powder, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Saute beef in fat over high heat until just seared; remove from the pan and reserve. (The beef should be rare at this point.)
- Add mushrooms to the wok, saute until soft.
- Deglaze with Shaoxing wine, reduce to 1/4.
- Add oyster sauce, black vinegar, and the stevia packet; stir to create a sauce.
- Add the beef and broccoli back to the pan, and heat through.
- Serve hot.
How we make this dish:
Rib eye steaks were on a super special, so I just had to get them. I consider a rib eye to be superior in flavor to a tenderloin. Honestly, the mushrooms needed to be used that day, but I got them for super cheap.
Great news about mushrooms is that they are basically “free” on the carb scale, and are a great vehicle for flavors.
That leaves us with the rest of the ingredient that tie everything together:
Of course, you need something to sweeten the dish up, that will counterbalance the umami of the soy and level out the acidity of the black vinegar. We are going natural and low-carb, so it is Stevia to the rescue:
First thing that we need to do is process the broccoli. You will need to use the whole stalk. Cut out the fleuerttes, peel back the skin of the stalk and slice it thinly.
If you just throw your broccoli into the stir-fry, it will not be cooked by the time everything else is. You need to help it along. I am going to introduce you to a technique known as “Blanching and Refreshing”:
Bring the water to a boil, then pour it into the broccoli. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
After the 5 minutes are up, drain the hot water, run the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking. The broccoli should be tender-crisp, not limp, and should be a nice green.
Now, we separate the fat from the meat, and cut it into chunks. Fear not though, throw the fat into the pan over low heat to render it out.
While that is rendering out, pour a splash of Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sprinkle a good amount of 5 spice onto the beef. Mix it up well, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Once you have a decent amount of fat rendered out, crank up the heat and sauté the beef.
Place your beef aside, and pour your mushrooms in the pan, and saute them. You will find that they will soak up the fat. That is a good thing.
Once the mushrooms have softened a bit, add a splash of Shoaxing wine and cook it down. Add a good amount of oyster sauce, and thin it out with the black vinegar.
Sprinkle the stevia over the top and mix it in.
Finally, add the broccoli and the beef back to the mix, taking care to pour in any juices that have dripped off the beef.
Stir, and serve.
Now, you can eat it just like that, or you can serve it with a little bit of rice. I find that skipping the rice and eating a salad on the side is more than enough.
There you have it – a dish prepared the way an Asian family would have it. Keep in mind that this way, you can afford a premium cut of meat while feeding your whole family. Make sure the quality is there, and you won’t need massive amounts of meat to sate you.