I will be the first to admit that this is a very weird grouping of ingredients. Ok, maybe not so much the veggies and beef….but it really comes down to the soy sauce and Parmesan cheese. I rarely find any kind of dairy in Asian food, which is one thing, but an Italian cheese and soy sauce co-mingling? How could that possibly taste good? BUT IT DOES. Seriously. I tried it with and without the cheese and it goes up about 10 notches on the taste meter WITH the cheese.
I do not recall my mom making this dish, but apparently it was ‘Good-very good’, like she thought to herself….”hey, that was pretty tasty”…..and then took another bite and was like, “Holy Crap! Against my better judgement and everything I’ve ever known about all the cuisines of the world, that’s actually really good.” As if she, too, couldn’t believe that the soy sauce and Parmesan cheese could live in harmony. But that’s love, people. Opposites Attract.
First thing I did was put the round steak in the freezer for a bit. I froze it just enough that I could cut it easily. This is one of the best little tricks out there for cutting up meat. I don’t know about you, but I’ve wrestled a side of beef up and down the counter top, just trying to get my knife through it. Your freezer isn’t just for ice cubes any more. Cut into lovely strips of 1/4 inch wide x 3 inches long.
Brown meat in some oil and drain once done. Add water, soy sauce and garlic. (I have this HUGE tub of fresh garlic and ginger all smashed together in a paste. I thought ginger would work, so in it went.) Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
While all this simmering was going on, I painted my toe nails and chopped up the veggies for the rest of the recipe. (Not in that order and not at the same time.) It took about 3 medium carrots to get 1 cup of sliced carrots and about 2 stalks of celery for the 1 cup of sliced celery. The mushrooms were about 1/2 pound and I cleaned them and sliced them in half.
When the meat had simmered for 45 minutes, I threw in all the veggies, stirred, covered the pot and continued simmering for 15 more minutes. (Are you getting an idea of how easy this all was? I was able to get laundry done, watch Game of Thrones and cook a hearty meal. It was fantastic.)
Put 1/4 cup of cold water in a little bowl and add the cornstarch and stir until combined. Cornstarch does a great job of thickening up sauces and soups, but you’ve got to treat it right. You must mix it in a cold liquid before adding it to your hot dish. Once added, you need to stir it in and wait for it to thicken, BUT if you stir too long over heat, it will break down and thin out.
So, gradually add cornstarch mixture to your meat and veggies and stir constantly until it heats back up and begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Like I said before, I tried it before the cheese and it was definitely lacking something. The cheese gave it the kick in the pants that it needed.
Serve over hot rice and dig in!
Beef Strips Oriental
- 1 lb. round steak, 3/4 inch thick
- 1 c. water, then 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 c. carrot slices
- 1 c. celery slices
- 2 c. mushroom halves
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- Hot cooked rice
- Cut meat into strips 1/4 inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long.
- Brown meat in oil; drain.
- Add water, soy sauce and garlic. Cover; simmer 45 minutes.
- Add vegetables; cover and continue cooking 15 to 20 minutes.
- Combine cornstarch and water, stirring until well blended. Gradually add cornstarch mixture to hot meat and vegetables, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens.
- Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
- Serve over rice.