Sunday, July 20, 2008

Spicy Beef Wraps

Sat 19 July 2008

The latest food show on the BBC is Chinese Food Made Easy, presented by the mildly irritating (according to 4/4 viewers asked, not just my opinion!) Ching-He Huang. It's a shame that she spends a disproportionate amount of time shouting "Wok on! Oil hot!" when she's actually putting together some reasonably interesting, but quick to prepare, dishes. And coming from someone who doesn't eat a lot of Chinese food - that's saying something.

Andy was inspired enough to suggest making the spiced beef wraps which appeared at the end of last week's episode. There was, as usual, a few departures from her recipe, and we came to the conclusion that, while the basic ideas were good, it needed refinement.

The original recipe uses beef fillet, but we opted for (the considerably cheaper) rump. Before heading out to the cinema, I cut up the rump finely (in future, we would batter it with a meat mallet first), and tossed it with ground cumin, chilli flakes, chilli powder, salt and pepper. The recipe on the BBC says to use 2 tbsp of chilli flakes. I would say to ONLY do this if you are very, very sure about how mild your chilli flakes are. I used less than a teaspoon and about the same again of the chilli powder and the final mix had a pleasant warmth about it. 2 tbsp and I'm sure it would have been close to inedible.

I also prepared the dressing by mixing crème fraîche (substituted for mayonnaise) and wasabi paste - all done to taste. This was undoubtedly the star of the meal and definitely a mix we'll be making use of in future for all sorts of things.

On our return from the cinema, Andy heated some oil in the wok (without having to shout anything, at all) and added diced onion. This was cooked until softened and then he added the beef and let it brown. At this stage he added Shaoxing rice wine (substitute dry Sherry if you can't get hold of this) and soy sauce. To finish, he added plenty of chopped fresh coriander and finely sliced spring onion.

The idea is to serve the meat, topped with the wasabi mix, in a tortilla wrap. There was a lot of discussion over dinner as to how we'd do this a second time (if we were to bother - which we've decided we won't), what it (potentially) says about the recipes from Chinese Food Made Easy and (most importantly) how we'd use the wasabi-crème fraîche mix!

Any meal which stimulates discussion is good, and this was a good, quick and satisfying supper. 50% of boxes ticked!

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Blogger Andrew said...

I dont eat a lot of Chinese food either and have only seen one episode of this prog. What I did notice was how nervous/uncomfortable she looked approaching people in the street. Thought the researchers would have prepared the way first...

4:02 am  
Blogger Alex said...

Hm, you've touched on another aspect of the program I didn't like - the running around on the street lifestyle aspect of things.

I don't think you're going to convert someone into giving something a try at home by rolling up to their building site and shoving food in their face ...

Blimey - I'm difficult to please!

11:44 am  
Blogger Katie said...

I saw this programme too and it was quite annoying when she kept saying 'wok on' thought most of the recipes looked tasty though.

I bet you could serve any leftover wasabi sauce with beef, roasted, in a sandwich or with balinis.

3:19 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I imagine it would go well with beef. We did try it out with some smoked salmon and that was successful too!

No doubt "Chinese Food Made Easy" the book will be out and about soon and we might that find a little more palatable!

12:12 pm  

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