I don’t make Asian food that often at home, but I really do love it. I recently had a real craving for sweet and sour something– whether it be seafood, beef or chicken. Many of the recipes I found used ketchup for the sauce (which I’m not a huge fan of when it comes to cooking with it) and other prepared sauces for the ‘sweet and sour’ part. Instead, I tested my own version of a homemade sweet and sour combination that worked really well, particularly with a high quality Halal meat like the Billy Doe Meats.
The ingredients I used are fairly simple and can be found in just about any grocery store international aisle: cane sugar, pineapple vinegar (or any fruity vinegar- apple cider vinegar is particularly good here), tomato sauce, sesame oil or toasted sesame oil (or a combination of the two).
I also used some greens from my garden: kale, spinach, celery and Swiss chard. You can use just one of these, if you like.
If I had to choose just one, it would be kale- it’s thicker than spinach and tends to hold onto the meat a little better, if that’s all the greens you’re using.
But the Swiss chard does add some nice color when using the stems.
I also added carrots- shredded, but also the leftover chunky parts, as nothing is wasted. Garlic, too. Of course.
After everything is chopped, the larger parts plus the onion and garlic get sautéd in the sesame oil. You can use a wok or Dutch oven to do this.
I added ground ginger for added spice because I didn’t have fresh on hand. Either one works and freshly chopped is always preferable- to me, anyway.
Use high heat once those ingredients are in the pot.
Add the beef cubes. These looked fabulous.
And the tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar and corn starch.
Then the greens and shredded carrots, basically the thin stuff.
Now we’re seeing more color, which is always nice when you’re about to eat the dish soon after cooking it. Makes it so much more appealing.
Then you’ll need to cover it, reduce the heat and let the beef cook. The greens will actually add moisture to the meat, making it nice and soft after about 25 minutes. I like to serve it over rice or noodles, but I could it all by itself, too.
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil + more for finishing
- 1 pound Angus beef stew cubes or strips (Crescent brand is dhabiha halal and grass fed)
- 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons scallions, diced
- 4 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons ginger powder or fresh minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons sea salt + more, if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon pineapple vinegar or any fruit-derived vinegar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 1/2 cup Swiss chard stems and leaves, chopped (reserve leaves for end of recipe)
- 1/2 cup spinach stems and leaves, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, stem and leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 carrots, shredded (plus the leftover chunky parts)
- Heat the sesame oil in a large Dutch oven or wok, watching carefully as not to burn it.
- Add the red onion, scallions and the chopped stems of the Swiss chard, spinach, celery and carrot chunks, sautéing until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Stir often so as not to burn the garlic.
- Add the beef cubes and gently brown on each side.
- Pour in the vinegar, then add the sugar and cornstarch. Stir swiftly so that the mixture begins to thicken. Add the tomato sauce and combine it thoroughly. Add more sesame oil at any point in which the ingredients seem to dry out.
- Add the leaves of the Swiss chard, Spinach and kale. Stir to combine then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
- Let cook on low, for about 25 minutes, or until meat has softened and is cooked thoroughly.Finish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, if desired.
- Serve immediately over steamed rice or Asian noodles.