While I love to eat spicy food, serving it up as a family meal can sometimes be a little fraught. There is often a list of ingredients that is longer than some short stories, a lot of hard work with a mortar and pestle and then a bleat from the youngest: "it's too spicy". Insert rolling of eyes from both mother and daughter.
Enter Kylie Kwong with the solution. This dish (from "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong) is fantastic, a great balance between tasty enough and mild enough to please the various palates around the table. The ingredients are all easily accessible via large supermarkets (or Asian grocers if you have one nearby). Apart from the marinading time, the cooking is quick, so if you can organise yourself to marinade the meat the day before, you can whip this up in no time after a long day.
adapted from "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong
3 tbls shao hsing rice wine (substitute dry sherry if you can't find it)
2 tbls Chinese BBQ sauce
3 tbls peanut oil
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tbls mushroom soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
400g beef fillet cut into 1.5cm thick slices (as this does not cook for long, it is worth getting good quality)
2 small white onions, peeled
6 cm knob ginger finely sliced
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp kecap manis (a sweet thick soy)
Sichuan pepper and salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
Place 2 tbls wine, BBQ sauce, 1 tbl peanut oil, sugar, 2 tsps mushroom soy and 1/4 tsp sesame oil in a large bowl. Add beef, and mix thoroughly so it is coated completely. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.
Cut onions into 2cm wedges, and then separate the layers. Heat remaining peanut oil in a hot wok until the surface starts to shimmer (don't let it get to smoking). Add onion, ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the beef slices and marinade to the wok, spreading them out so they all sear on one side (ie do not stir fry). After about one minute, or once they are browned, turn them over and sear the other side for another minute. Add remaining wine, kecap manis, soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir fry for one minute, or until the beef is just tender and the flavours are balanced. You can also throw in some green vegetables (maybe beans / snow peas) at this point if you like. Just par cook them first in a little water for a minute or two in the microwave so they are not too crisp.
Arrange beef on a platter sprinkled with Sichuan pepper and salt, and a little extra soy and sesame oil if you like (I forgot and it didn't need it). Serve immediately with some lemon juice, which you can sprinkle to taste.