When the lean round steaks at the supermarket go on sale, I buy them to make a dish like this one, where the meat, though it plays an important role, is well-balanced by the beautiful vegetables, all blended in the savory sauce. About an hour before you start cooking put your round steak in the freezer and let it get slightly stiffened, which makes it simpler to cut into the thin slices needed for this dish. I used fresh vegetables from my husband's garden, which he gathers up as they ripen and place in a special basket on the kitchen table--they serve as a kind of inspiration for a delicious dinner! If you cannot find the Chinese ShaoXing yellow wine, you can use cooking sherry, though it will alter the taste somewhat. Both fresh garlic and garlic powder are used here, but are not overpowering as their flavor blends beautifully with the Oyster sauce. Oyster sauce is actually made with dried oysters, but does not have a fishy taste or smell; it is commonly used in many Chinese dishes, especially those from the south of China, such as Hong Kong, Fujian or Guandong province. *** If you would like to make a vegetarian version, it is especially good with firm tofu marinated in the sauce for 2 hours, or with smoky tofu--just stir-fry the tofu for 10 minutes to brown it up a little, then remove it from the pan while you toss in and cook the vegies; serve the vegetables and sauce and place the tofu pieces on top. I usually serve this with steamed rice and pan-fried (not deep fried) spring rolls, with chopped cilantro and green onions for garnish. —BeijingRose
First sliced all your vegetables: onion, eggplants, tomatoes, bell pepper and set aside. Heat the sesame seed oil in a wide saucepan or wok, and toss in the thinly sliced beef and the sliced garlic. Stir-fry the meat and garlic until the beef is tender, over medium heat--keep it moving in the pan and watch that the garlic turns light golden.
Into a small mixing bowl pour the wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cold water and stir well, then add the garlic powder, red pepper flakes and corn starch and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
When the meat is very nearly done, toss the sliced vegetables into the wok or saucepan, and stir together with the meat, then whisk the sauce again (sometimes the cornstarch settles in the bottom) and pour over everything in the pan. Toss the ingredients gently to coat them in the sauce and cook over medium heat until the eggplant softens, about 15 minutes. Do not overcook this dish! The tomatoes, green peppers and eggplant give it a beautiful color, but only if they are not cooked to death! Serve with steamed rice and garnish with cilantro if desired.