Garlic Beef & Shiitakes with Baby Bok Choy

There’s an Asian market very near to where I take my son for guitar lessons each Thursday afternoon.  It’s a dangerous place for me because every aisle contains ingredients for dishes I’ve often wanted to make, but was too lazy to find out where I might drive to purchase them before now.  Who would think that a market called Ranch 99 sold Asian food?  Certainly not me.

Do I really need yet another excuse to buy food? I already shop at too many grocery stores as it is.  I do have a regular market that I won’t ever give up because I know where everything is in the entire store.   And then there’s Trader Joe’s.  They have an eclectic assortment of yummy things at rock bottom prices — especially in the deli and dairy.  But most of the time, they won’t have something I can’t live without, and that forces me to cross the street to pick up the rest of my list at Henry’s.  Henry’s is a Wild Oats store.  You know, bins full of flour and trail mix, or rolled oats.  On special occasions, I go to Whole Foods just because I love the produce and fresh seafood, meat, and deli counters.

Now, I’ve found the Asian market.  *sigh*

If it wasn’t bad enough the first time I oogled my way through the store, the second time, I grabbed noodles and hot sauce and baby bok choy that was only 69 cents a pound.  There’s no way I could pass that up, even if I already had baby bok choy at home in the fridge.  You just never know when baby bok choy might come in handy.

But what happened always happens.  By the time I unpacked it all, I realized there was no way I could actually cook what I’d purchased. It makes me remember the days I actually used to be organized about all of this. There’s only so much food that three of us can eat.

A few days passed.  Maybe more than a few.  Regardless, so many passed that I noticed the bok choy sprouting blooms.  No water — just plenty of light from the window, and a snug wrap in the plastic it was packaged in.  Then the blooms actually grew some more.

Clearly, I had to do something with this lovely vegetable that was trying so hard to get my attention.

Garlic Beef with Shiitakes and Baby Bok Choy Recipe


1 lb. sirloin sliced very thin
1-1/2 tsp. corn oil
1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced
4 cloves chopped garlic
1-1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3/4 lb. snow peas
3 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
2 T. rice wine
3/4 lb. taiwanese noodles, pan fried

Beef Marinade

3-1/2 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine
2 T minced chopped garlic
1 T cornstarch

Oyster Sauce

1-1/2 c. beef broth
6 T oyster sauce
1-1/2 T rice wine
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1-1/2 T cornstarch


  1. Cut the sirloin into slices as thin as you can get them.  For very best results, ask the meat cutter to do it for you.  If this isn’t possible, make sure the meat is slightly frozen.
  2. Combine beef with marinade in a plastic bag and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix all ingredients for the oyster sauce together and set aside.
  4. Prepare noodles according to the package directions.  Usually, the noodles are soft and need to be cooked for about 3 minutes in boiling water, then drained before adding to a skillet with oil to be fried.
  5. To fry the noodles, spread them across the bottom of the pan and let sizzle until you can tell they’ve begun to hold together.  Using a wide spatula (or two) flip the noodles to the other side to brown as well.  Keep warm until serving.
  6. To cook the beef, heat a large skillet (or wok) over high heat.
  7. Add the oil and heat until very hot.
  8. Add the beef slices and stir-fry until no longer pink.  If your beef is very thin, this will happen quickly.
  9. Pour beef into a bowl and set aside.
  10. Add more oil to the skillet if necessary, and when hot, add shiitakes, garlic, and ginger, stir-frying until heated — about a minute.
  11. Then add the bok choy, stir-frying until heated, the white parts begin to lightly brown, and the greens to wilt.
  12. Add the snow peas and rice wine and stir-fry for less than 2 minutes.
  13. Add the oyster sauce and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
  14. Add the beef to the vegetables and mix lightly.
  15. Cut the noodles into quarters, and spoon the beef over to serve.

Recipe Notes:

  • This was surprisingly good.  Although we expected to enjoy it, we didn’t think we’d enjoy it as much as we did.  I found the original recipe in a Google search about an hour before starting the prep.  I’d been scanning my magazines and cookbooks for something we had all the ingredients for, and couldn’t find anything.  Three ingredient Google searches always work.  It’s amazing.  And, I was able to use much of what I purchased, except for the bok choy, which was on the menu a few more times that week.
  • I purchased the beef already cut (1/16″), artfully arranged, packaged, and frozen at the Asian market.  I saw it and had to buy it because I knew I’d find some creative way to use it.  The first dish I used it in (which won’t be posted because I have no photos…), I  briefly marinated it and then wrapped it around a few pieces of thin asparagus before putting it under the broiler.  No recipe — just fun on a Friday evening.
  • The rice wine is something I can purchase at my regular market:  Kikkoman’s “manjo” Aji-Mirin or sweet cooking rice wine works fine.  I probably need to see what the Asian market has to offer in the way of rice wine, but I barely have room in my cupboard as it is, so I used what I had. The original recipe, which can be found here, says that sake can be used instead of rice wine.  Sake seems to be the only ingredient I didn’t purchase at the Asian market!
  • I used a large skillet because I no longer own a wok.  It took up too much room in my cupboard, and my skillet works just fine.  It’s all about making sure the heat is high enough to cook the food without burning it, but keeping it as crisp and fresh as possible.  My husband loves to do the skillet thing, so he was on this task.  Of course, I wasn’t quite sure my skillet would every be the same again!