Asparagus With Beef And Black Beans

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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1 1/2 pounds asparagus -- cleaned
1/2 pound beef flank steak -- sliced thin across the grain
3 tablespoons soy sauce -- light
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root -- grated
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine -- or dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic -- sliced thin
1 tablespoon dow see - -- (see * note), rinsed, drained
1/4 cup chicken stock -- fresh or canned
1 dash sugar
1 dash salt -- to taste

Preparation / Directions:

* Note: Fermented black beans, available in Asian markets. Slice the cleaned asparagus diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside. In a small bowl marinate the sliced beef in 2 tablespoons of the light soy sauce, ginger, rice wine and the cornstarch. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes. Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the oil. The oil should begin to smoke. Quickly lay the meat on one side in the pan. Do not turn, but cook over high heat for a moment until the one side begins to brown. Toss-stir the meat for a moment and remove from the pan, allowing the oil to drain back into the pan. Heat the pan again and add the garlic. Stir-fry for just a moment and add the rinsed fermented black beans (dow see). Stir-fry for another moment and add the asparagus. Toss for a few seconds, then add the remaining soy sauce, salt and sugar. Stir-fry just until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and chicken stock. Stir to make a sauce. Serve immediately. Hint on cleaning asparagus: Hold the bottom end of the stem in one hand and gently bend the stalk with the other. The stalk will break where it is tender, thus giving you a piece of asparagus that is entirely edible. With a little practice you will know exactly where to break the vegetable. Save the broken-off ends for soups. Slice and add to soup stock, then drain and discard the coarse stalks before serving.

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