While asparagus is a very recently introduced and not yet a common vegetable on the tables of China, the country is the world’s largest producer of the white variety, and I have no doubt that with the increasing affluence of the Chinese, such delicious western produce as asparagus will be sampled and eventually incorporated into the cuisine. Its taste, color (especially the green) and particular crisp texture is precisely the sort of qualities that will endear it to their national palate. The preparation, however, is very traditional, and utilizes a reduction sauce. This method is common in China but is almost never employed in the Chinese American restaurants, whose cooks can’t seem to keep starch thickeners away from their stir fries. In this dish, one can very simply substitute pork, chicken, or even lamb, with similar results.
8 oz lean beef (tri-tip, or top round works well)10 oz green asparagus, fibrous ends trimmed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 scallions, slivered diagonally, green and white portions separated
1 Tab black soy
1 Tab light soy
1 Tab rice wine
1 heap Tab cornstarch
2 Tab stock
1 Tab rice wine
1 Tab light soy sauce
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Slice beef across the grain, then sliver into matchsticks approximately 1-1/2 to 2 inches long. Mix with marinade, and allow to stand for 30 minutes or longer.
Slice asparagus at an extreme diagonal, very thin, approximately1/8” thick or less (If it is sliced too thick, other ingredients will overcook by the time the asparagus is done).
Heat wok to smoking hot and swirl in 3 Tab of peanut oil. When very hot, add beef slivers and break apart; toss, allowing meat to rest occasionally so that it will brown nicely. After only 1 or 2 minutes, remove beef to a plate. Add more oil if necessary, and when wok is hot add garlic, white portion of onion, then asparagus. Stir fry 1 or 2 minutes, until edges of the vegetable begin to brown. Stir sauce ingredients and add to wok; toss on high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and clings to the ingredients. Plate and garnish with sesame oil and slivered carrot.