Sunday, February 21, 2010

Calgary Style Ginger Beef recipe circa 1996

Ginger beef is not Chinese food. It is as Canadian as it gets. It was purportedly invented at the Silver Inn in Calgary sometime in the late 70s or early 80s, depending on who you ask. It quickly spread throughout Calgary, and now Canada (a Friend told me of a restaurant in Toronto advertising "Calgary Style Ginger Beef"). Edmonton's version is not the same, being sweeter, more of a sweet&sour beef with ginger, and lacking the darker flavours of the original.

In the early days of my use of the World Wide Web, I searched for Ginger beef recipes using the then state-of-the-art Alta Vista, and what should come up but the Ginger Beef Peking House in Brentwood, who had, inexplicably, posted their recipe on line for all to steal.

It works.

Several of you have asked for it over the years, I have always said I would get around to it. Here it is, Owen's (stolen) recipe for Calgary Style Ginger Beef:

1/2 pound flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain


1/2 egg
8 TB water
10 TB corn starch
1.5 TB flour
2 TB oil
1/4 TB white pepper

(combine batter, mix the beef up with the batter and deep-fry the strips of beef until crispy)

2 TB light soy sauce
1TB white vinegar
1.5 TB Mushroom soy sauce (dark soy sauce is an acceptable substitute)
0.5 TB Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 cup water
8 TB sugar
1/4 TB or more crushed chilies

(mix together and put to one side before you start to assemble the final dish)

Slice 1 red and 1 green pepper (you can substitute celery, julienned carrots, baby leeks, whatever), chop 3 garlic cloves finely and julienne a hefty chunk of ginger, depending on taste. (At least the size of your thumb.)

Stir fry the vegetables you have chosen with the garlic and ginger until crispy. Ass the sauce mixture and bring to the boil. Add the beef strips and stir to coat with the sauce.

For authenticity stop here and serve. If you want a thicker sauce, you can add a little cornstarch and water and bring back to the boil.

There you have it. It is about as simple as it gets. Enjoy. I know you will try it, Kelly and Lesa.