Beef with Garlic Sauce

One of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes is shredded beef with garlic sauce. It's beef with celery and a deliciously garlicky sauce that goes so well with rice. It's relatively easy to make in your own kitchen and I'm sure it's much healthier when it's homemade. Like the eggplant with garlic sauce, I'd serve this with a heaping bowl of jasmine rice.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb beef (I used sirloin tips)
1/2 bulb of garlic - 6 to 8 cloves of garlic
2 celery stalks
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive oil, any neutral oil is fine)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup water
Start by making the marinade. Roughly chop up the garlic (lots and lots of garlic!) and then add in the soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and stir.

Next, slice up the beef into strips; cut across the grain to make sure the beef is tender and easy to eat. Add the beef to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Slice the celery into thin strips. I like to cut it on a bias.
Once the beef has marinaded for a sufficient amount of time, stir in the corn starch. It's going to look kind of milky and ugly, but this is the easiest way, in my opinion, to add in the corn starch, which is the thickening agent. You could also create a "slurry," which is just corn starch and water, and add it in later, but it's definitely easier to end up with a lumpy sauce using this method.
Heat up a large skillet (or wok) and add in the beef. Since there's oil in the marinade, I find that I don't need any oil in the skillet but if you have a finnicky pan, add a little oil for a bit of insurance. Once the meat is no longer red, add in a bit of water and stir. You'll see the water start to thicken (that's the corn starch working) and that's when you know it's time to add in the celery. Turn off the heat immediately and toss briefly. You want the celery to stay crunchy - it's a lovely textural contrast.
Serve and enjoy.


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