In modern Beijing, people are more likely to eat at a barbecue shop than to grill meat at home. This is mostly because Chinese kitchens aren’t set up for grilling: many people live in tall new apartment towers that don’t have balconies, and indoor grills just aren’t as common in China as they are in, say, Japan. But if you have a grill, either an indoor electric countertop version or an outdoor charcoal grill, it would be a shame not to try this tasty and simple recipe.
This may look similar to the Hong Kong favorite char siu, but while char siu is barbecued pork flavored with a sweet marinade, this is beef tenderloin in a more savory sauce. Since the tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat you’ll want to grill it fast on high heat, to sear it and jeep the juices inside.
Put the beef in the marinade and let it sit for an hour or two. A lengthy bath in the marinade not only allows the beef to soak up the flavors, but also ensures that the meat has a chance to come to room temperature before grilling.
As for the quantity of meat, you can plan on about a quarter pound of beef per person when you serve this as part of a meal with other dishes.
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- Marinate the beef in 1/4 cup dark soy sauce, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper for about two hours, turning several times along the way
- Make a dipping sauce from the juice of one lime, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp sugar
- Heat your grill until quite hot. Grill the beef (#1) for about 4 minutes, then turn over and grill for another 2-3 minutes. It should stay medium rare, pink and juicy on the inside.
- Rest the beef on a cutting board for about 5 minutes, then slice it into bite-sized pieces.
- Serve with the dipping sauce (#2).
VARIATIONS: Indoor grillers will want to go light on sugary ingredients in the marinade to cut down on the smoke, but might add rice wine, lemon juice, hoisin sauce, cayenne pepper, or garlic. Outdoor grillers may want to add any of the above plus 2 Tbsp honey or 2 Tbsp plum sauce. You can also go au naturale and avoid the marinade entirely, to just savor the excellent taste of the beef.