---posted for our recipe testers, 24 May 05

still tweaking it

Ricky Kagan's Stir-Fried Beef with Black Bean and Tomato

serves two*

  • 1 lb of skirt steak
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 large portobello mushroom (no stem)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dried Chinese fermented black beans
  • 12 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 dried Chinese hot peppers [optional]
  • 1/4 or 1/2 cup sherry (medium dry)
  • olive oil

1. Soak the black beans in clear water to remove the excess salt. Fifteen to twenty minutes should do it.

2. Chop and fry the onion and the mushroom in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Set aside.

3. Slice the skirt steak with the grain (rough size shown here). Fry in high heat but leave it VERY rare. (Basically, all you're doing is sealing in the juices here.) Set aside.

(Have you noticed yet that you can do all this way before dinner, as long as you can keep the beef away from the cats? Oh, and drain the water off the beans after 20 minutes. It will all wait nicely now.)

4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. [Hey, you can use any size tomatoes you can find that actually taste like tomatoes. These past few years we've had to use very expensive cherry tomatoes because they're the only tomatoes we can find that taste like tomatoes.]

All Together Now!

5. [Optional: If you like tangy, fry two dried Chinese hot peppers in olive oil. When the peppers turn black...] Add the chopped garlic to the olive oil at high heat, 3 to 4 minutes.

6. Add the drained black beans. Fry about 5 minutes. [Optional: Remove the hot peppers and throw them away. Optional: If you like tangy-er, leave the peppers in thru the rest of the stir-frying.]

7. Add the onion and mushroom mix.

8. Immediately throw in a quarter cup of oyster sauce and a "splash" of medium dry sherry. (Ricky thinks his splash is about a 1/4 cup. I think his splash is a slosh and more like a 1/2 cup. Either way, enjoy. If you do it right, there should be no smell or taste of alcohol at all, just the exquisitely warm flavor of sherry. Sherry's a spice here, not a drink.) Drain any juice in the beef set aside into the sauce.

9. Stir, taste, adjust. (If it still tastes of alcohol, it's not done yet.)

10. Real quick now: PUT THE BEEF BACK IN for TWO MINUTES, TOPS!

Serve over rice [or egg noodles or angel hair] to soak up the juices.


*Ricky can do this dish for eight at a shot but we have a wok stove in our kitchen. If you're doing it in a cast iron frying pan atop your stove, best you do it in two-person batches so you can keep the frying pan as hot as needs be. Don't worry, the guests will all wait because the show is so good.


  Dandelions now!

  Real Janet Kagan

Standing in the Spirit



1st Woman

 James H. Schmitz

 opinionated '05, '04

 Love Our Lockwood

John Randolph, the Actor

JJ1, JJ2, JJ3, JJ4, JJ5, catstuff

 The Goblination of the Runt

Unless otherwise noted, all text and photos © 1992-2005 by Janet Kagan