Beef and Vegetable Lo Mein
Happy Halloween! For the first time in about 3 years, I actually got trick-or-treaters at my door…translation…for the first time in about 3 years, I don’t have to eat a bag of leftover candy myself or foist it off on my coworkers. Yay! My thanks goes out to all of the princesses, goblins, witches, and my 2 favorite costumes of the day, Optimus Prime and Super Why!
So you’d think that with Halloween in the air, that I’d be cooking up something ghoulishly delicious right? Not so much. I’m not sure if perhaps the planets are in some sort of weird alignment or if it’s some other otherworldly effect, but I found myself cooking asian almost all day today. For lunch, I stir-fried some baby bok choy with some garlic and black bean sauce served it with some Vietnamese cha lua (bologna) on the side with jasmine rice. For my visit to my father, I made some beef with broccoli and a northern viet style omelet. As if my house didn’t already smell like one big vat of sauteed garlic and deliciousness, I still had my own dinner to make…and of course, we were going asian again for the hat trick!
On my recent trip to the asian supermarket, I was fortunate enough to pick up a fair bit of asian greens…baby bok choy, chinese broccoli, bitter melon, etc. I also decided to snag a some noodles to make some lo mein at some later date. Of course that later date meaning tonight. Lo mein noodles can be picked up a variety of ways: dried, fresh, or pre-cooked. I generally prefer the pre-cooked variety since it saves me an extra step in cooking and allows me to focus on the sauce and lo mein accouterments. Any of these preparations should be easily found in your local asian mart, although the fresh and pre-cooked varieties are usually found in the refrigerator section by the wonton wrappers and fresh udon. Pre-cooked lo mein noodles may be labeled accordingly, however, in my experience, they’ve usually been labeled as the nondescript “cooked noodle”
If you have a wok, all the better, but if one is not handy (as it was back in my younger days), a large heavy bottomed pot with plenty of room to mix things around will suffice. Lo mein is one of those dishes that can really be customized in any which way you want. As is my usual fashion, I added whatever was available in my fridge, in this case, some beef, baby bok choy, onions, red bell pepper, and broccoli, but feel free to add chicken, tofu, and whatever vegetable combination you’d prefer. Just be sure to add in your vegetables in order of longest cooking to quickest cooking to avoid anything getting overcooked.
Beef and Vegetable Lo Mein
As envisioned by TastyDesu
1/2 lb of beef, sliced into bite sized strips
1 small onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bunches of baby bok choy, sliced into bite sized pieces with white parts separated from green tops
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 broccoli crown, cut into bite sized florets or 1 cup of prepared broccoli florets
1 package of cooked noodle
2 scallions, sliced 1/2″ long for garnish
3 tablespoons garlic chili paste, more or less according to your taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare broccoli first. Toss broccoli florets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Arrange broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place under broiler for about 5 minutes, or until broccoli begins to brown. Turn florets over and return to broiler for another 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Heat oil over medium high heat in wok or large heavy bottomed pot until shimmering. Add in garlic and saute 1 minute till fragrant then add in beef and continue sauteing until beef is no longer red, about 2 minutes. Add in garlic chili paste and continue to saute for another minute. Add in onions, white parts of baby bok choy, and red bell pepper and saute until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
Add in soy sauce and sugar. Season to taste with some salt and pepper and let cook for another minute until sauce has thickened a little. Now add in pre-cooked noodles to wok. I usually find that it’s still in block formation when I add it in…use your chopsticks to gently pull the noodles apart. Stir and mix noodles with sauce and vegetables and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes. Noodles will begin to soften and will begin to absorb the sauce. Add in green parts of baby bok choy and allow to cook another minute until the leaves begin to wilt. Toss in the roasted broccoli and scallions and stir until all vegetables are thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat and enjoy!