Brooklyn Wiseguy-Cantonese Beef With Oyster Sauce

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“This is the story: A certain Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn was known to be frequented by "wiseguys". One wiseguy in particular (let's call him Joey) was very fond of the classic Beef with Oyster Sauce, although he often kidded the owner about the thin sliced "mystery meat" it was served with. "Don't youse guys ever feel like a nice steak?" was the usual question. Eager to please his patrons, the owner instructed the chef to prepare the dish in this manner, as a surprise for Joey. Realising a knife would be needed to cut the steak, a waiter was told to bring one to the table before serving, as knives aren't part of a usual place setting in Chinese restaurants. The waiter, new and somewhat intimidated by the wiseguys, nervously handed the knife directly to Joey. Joey eyeballed the knife, and looked up at the waiter. "Are youse expecting trouble tonight?" Preparing this dish is no trouble at all.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 12-2 lbs beef rib eye steaks or 1 12-2 lbs shell steak or 1 12-2 lbs sirloin steaks or 1 12-2 lbs New York strip steaks (this weight should be no more than 2 or 3 whole steaks, which can be cut in half portions to serve 4)
  • Marinade
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine or 2 tablespoons gin or 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Sauce
  • 3 12 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine or 1 tablespoon gin or 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 34 cup beef stock or 34 cup chicken stock or 34 cup broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed to a smooth paste in 2 tbs cold water)
  • Stir fry
  • 1 -2 tablespoon peanut oil or 1 -2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 small onions or 1 large onion, cut in 1/2 inch thick chunks or slivers
  • 12 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 small firm ripe tomatoes, cut in bite size chunks
  • Garnish
  • 12 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or 1 teaspoon white vinegar


  1. Mix marinade ingredients and rub into steaks.
  2. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Mix together ingredients for sauce and set aside.
  4. Toss lettuce with oil and vinegar and divide onto individual serving plates (or 1 large serving plate).
  5. Heat a wok or heavy based pan, then add oil to coat.
  6. When oil is very hot, add garlic, ginger, onions, and mushrooms, and stir-fry on high heat until crisp cooked (about 3 minutes), turning constantly to avoid scorching.
  7. Add tomatoes and cook another minute or so, then add sauce mixture.
  8. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for about 2 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  9. Cover and keep warm.
  10. Broil, grill, or pan-cook the steaks to your taste.
  11. Place hot steaks on lettuce and spoon some sauce and vegetables over each steak and lettuce portion.
  12. Serve with white rice- and a knife.

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