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March 22, 2006
An old favorite

[bento with broccoli, beef & noodles stirfry, fruit tier]

Front: stir-fried rice noodles with beef & broccoli
Back: panda cake (non-GF), sliced kiwi and mango

A beef and broccoli stir-fry might not sound that exciting, and the list of ingredients may seem deceptively simple, but this dish is one of our favorite lunches. I used to make it for dinner, but somehow it migrated to our lunch menu and stayed there. I packed my hubby's in a microwaveable container (he likes it hot) and added a piggie full of Sriracha chile sauce (for even more hotness). I'm going to eat mine at room temp, which is a first for this dish, but I have a feeling that it will taste great. Perhaps because I am very, very hungry right now. Or maybe because leftover noodles taste good even straight out of the fridge. :P

I wish I had had some strawberries or raspberries for the fruit layer. Ah well.

1 small head of broccoli (about 1 lb.), stems trimmed and cut into small florets
12 oz. rice vermicelli (you also can use thicker rice noodles)
1 tbsp. salt
4 tbsp. peanut oil
1/2 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. sugar
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the broccoli and cook until just tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and set it aside in a bowl. Do not drain the water!
  2. Add the noodles and salt to the water and cook until the noodles are just tender but not mushy, about 2-4 minutes for vermicelli (and 4-5 minutes for pad thai-like noodles). Drain thoroughly and toss with 2 tbsp. of the peanut oil.
  3. Heat a large saute pan over high heat* and add the remainig 2 tbsp. of peanut oil. Heat the oil until it starts to shimmer and swirl to coat the pan. Add the flank and cook, stirring constantly, until it loses its raw color, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and let them set for 15 seconds. Then stir, breaking up the eggs with a spatula into clumps.
  5. Add the broccoli, fish sauce, tamari, and sugar and stir for 15 seconds to combine. Add the noodles and cook, pulling apart with tongs/chopsticks and tossing to coat with the sauce, until heated through.
* I use medium heat because I have AllClad pans. Apparently you are not allowed to heat AllClad pans above medium, and they conduct heat so well that you don't have to.
** The trick to this dish is the timing. You want to have your beef sliced and garlic ready to go. Once the noodles are drained, you should start cooking up the beef. If you wait too long, the drained noodles continue to cook (as they are not rinsed) until they are mushy and you don't want that!
* Use gluten-free products
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