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Black pepper beef with Kampot pepper from the Pepper Project

Black pepper beef is a weeknight-quick classic Chinese stir fry. Onion, fresh ginger, red bell pepper, celery, garlic and lots of black pepper offer plenty of flavor. The Pepper Project helps Cambodian pepper farmers and communities.

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My first choice to test-drive Kampot pepper would have been Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Pepper, a four-ingredient dish in which pepper is the star. Unfortunately, I’d already written about it here. My next thought was black pepper beef, a classic Chinese stir fry. It’s a weeknight quick Cantonese dish from the Guangdong province. Besides beef and black pepper, it features bell pepper, ginger, onion, garlic and, in my version, celery. The marinade/sauce includes soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.

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Blue Kitchen

Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.

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Black pepper beef
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as part of a multi-course meal

8 ounces flank steak

1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce (available in Asian markets and some supermarkets)

1-1/2 tablespoons Chinese wine or dry sherry (optional, may substitute cooking wine)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon corn starch

1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons (or more) canola oil

1/2 large onion, sliced into thin half moons

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chinks

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

1 celery rib, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

Cooked white rice

Extra soy sauce, for passing at the table

1. Slice the flank steak across the grain into 1/3-inch thick slices. Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese wine (if using), sesame oil, sugar, corn starch and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Set aside and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to another bowl, reserving excess marinade.

2. Heat canola oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Add beef to skillet and stir fry for about 2 minutes, tossing frequently. Transfer back to bowl with slotted spoon.

3. Add onion, bell pepper, ginger, celery and garlic to pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1-1/2 minutes. Return beef to pan along with reserved marinade and cook about 1 minute longer. Transfer to serving dish and top with remaining ground pepper. Serve with rice. Pass soy sauce at table. Also, be sure to tell diners to avoid the ginger slices. Seriously.

Related post on Blue Kitchen: Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Pepper

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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