Sliced Beef in Black Bean Sauce on “Two Sides Brown”

Two Sides Brown” refers to the crispy noodle cake which is the foundation of this delcious dish. If you can’t find fresh Chinese egg noodles, you can use fresh angel-hair pasta .

Serves 4 to 8 (depending on how many other dishes you serve). Preparation time is about 90 minutes.

Crispy noodle cakes:

8 oz fresh Chinese egg noodles

4 quarts water

2 teaspoons salt

1 T peanut oil

1 cup peanut oil for frying

Beef:

10 oz flank steak, sliced across the grain into 1/8” x 1 ½” slices.

1 tsp. dark brown sugar

1 T Chinese black soy sauce (the sweetened kind)

1 T sesame oil

2 T cornstarch

Black Bean Sauce:

2 fresh green chilies, seeded and slivered finely

1 T minced fresh ginger

1 T minced fresh garlic

3 T Chinese salted black beans, rinsed in a strainer under hot tap water, then chopped finely.

2 small bell peppers, one green, one red, seeded and cut into ¼” wide strips

1 medium white onion, halved and sliced thinly

1/3rd lb. snow peas, with ends trimmed off

1 tsp sugar

2 ½ T Chinese soy sauce

2 T cornstarch

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Put the water in a large pot, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Have a colander in place over the sink.

When water boils, add the noodles and stir briefly to separate them. Remove from the heat after 15 seconds and pour into the colander. Run them under cold water to stop them from cooking. When they’re no longer hot, add the 1 T oil, and toss to coat all the noodles. Remove to a bowl until needed.

Put the beef, dark brown sugar, black soy, sesame oil and cornstarch in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Put aside until needed.

Place the slivered green chilies, minced ginger and garlic, and the chopped black beans in a small bowl. The bell peppers, onion and snow peas go into another bowl. Mix the 1 tsp sugar, 2 ½ T soy sauce, 2 T cornstarch and the chicken stock in yet another bowl. Have all three bowls ready near the stove.

Heat a 12” skillet over high heat for one minute, then add the oil. When hot, add half the noodles and pat them into a flat cake. Brown them on one side, then, using two wooden spatulas, carefully turn them over and cook the other side until brown. Remove to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and keep them warm in a 300 degree oven while you cook the rest of the noodles and the beef topping.

Heat a wok on high heat for one minute, then transfer 1/3 cup of the remaining oil to it and heat it to 350 degrees. Add the beef  mixture and stir-fry quickly until just cooked through. Remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a bowl. There should be about 2 T of oil left in the wok. Heat it again and add the green chilies, minced ginger and garlic, and the chopped black beans. Stir-fry quickly until the garlic is light brown, then quickly add the bell peppers, onion and snow peas and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir the sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch and chicken stock mixture and add it to the wok. Mix well and cook, stirring, until thickened. Add the beef and its juices back into the wok, stir well to mix, and remove from the heat.

Place the noodle cakes on a large serving platter (I use my turkey platter!) and pour the contents of the wok over the top. Serve at once while the noodles are still crisp.

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