Hi folks, for the next few posts, I will be sharing some of my favourite, super easy Western recipes. Some are tried and tested oldies that I have been cooking for years, whilst the others are some new recipes that I discovered of late. I am sure you are familiar with some of them, and may have cooked them before. Well, here's my version, and I hope you like them :)
There are certain foods that always remind me of my days in Australia, such as Vietnamese pho, lamb moussaka and souvlaki, fish and chips, apple pie, chicken and avocado sandwich, apricot chicken, beef stroganoff and many more.
My first taste of these foods were not at some cafes or aussie pubs, but mostly at the homes of families who had kindly offered warm hospitality to homesick overseas students like me then :) Beef stroganoff was one of my favourite "foreign" food - somehow this hearty stew with a wonderful aroma of thyme never fails to warm my heart (right down to my toes in the winter months!). It is totally one of my aussie comfort food :)
There are several variations to this Russian originated dish - mainly in terms of what makes the base for the gravy. You will find some recipes that call for tomato puree; some use cream of mushroom soup, and the rest stick to good old beef broth. I am all for the moo.
A trick I learned from my aussie friends is to tenderise the meat using, no, not baking soda, but kiwifruit. Yup, fruits such as kiwi, pineapple and papaya (aussies call em Paw Paw) have enzymes called bromelin, which works to break down the tissue muscles of the meat, thus rendering it more tender.
Get yourself a nice green kiwifrult - it doesn't have to be ripe. Chop it up and mix it with the beef for a short while. I guarantee you will have a pot of deliciously tender beef stew in under half an hour using a normal pot. Forget about hours of simmering or using a slowcooker or even my favourite cook-em-quick artillery - the pressure cooker.
- 400g stewing beef (I use australian chuck steak, the cheapest cut)
- 200g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium size onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp worchestershire sauce (I use the Malaysian equivalent - Maggi seasoning sauce)
- 1 tsp mustard (I use Heinz prepared mustard)
- 1 beef stock cube
- 3 long sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2/3 C water
- 3 tbspn sour cream
- 1 tbspn cream cheese
- Rock salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Slice the beef across the grain into bite size thin slices (tip: freeze the meat until it is semi frozen - it is much easier to slice the semi hardened meat into thin slices than when it is at chill or room temperature). Let it come to room temperature, drain off any bloody residue. Roughly chop up a kiwifruit and mix it with the beef slices. Cover and chill in the fridge for about 30-40min. Do not over tenderise the meat, else it will lose its natural chewy texture and become rather mushy. Rinse the beef slices, discard the kiwifruit pieces and pat dry the meat with kitchen towel.
2. Heat some oil on medium high heat and saute the onions until soft. Add the beef and fry until brown on all sides.
3. Pour in the water and all the seasonings (except the mushrooms, sour cream and cream cheese). Bring to a boil, turn down the fire and let it simmer for about 20min. Stir once or twice.
|I use my new Microstoven pot to cook this - it cooks wonderfully due to |
a super efficient heat distribution coating.
4. Add the mushrooms and simmer till they turn opaque. Add in the sour cream, cream cheese and stir gently till the cream have melted evenly into the sauce. Season with rock salt and black pepper. Turn off the fire, fish out the thyme sprigs and discard. Serve warm with rice, pasta or crusty bread.
This will keep beautifully in the fridge for up to 3 days without any lost of flavour.