Beef and Broccoli in a CVap Oven

Beef and broccoli is a staple in Chinese restaurants. But like so many other “Chinese” dishes, beef and broccoli’s history is rooted as much in American cuisine as in Asian. It’s believed the first versions of the dish were prepared by Chinese immigrants who had settled in the Bay Area of California. Like other Asian dishes that originated during the railroad-building era of the American West, beef and broccoli was a way to create a tasty meal out of small portions of meat and vegetables. Subsequently, like many other dishes, beef and broccoli has evolved to suit the palates of average Americans.

Traditional preparation involves stir frying in a wok. We’re always curious – can we do it in a CVap® oven? Our experiment was a resounding success.

beef and broccoli with chopsticks

The Recipe – Beef and Broccoli

In a bowl toss the following together:

  • 3lbs – Beef (cut into 1” chunks) – tradition calls for flank steak, but any suitable beef steak will do
  • 4lbs – Frozen Broccoli (slacked a bit)
  • 1/4 Cup – Low Sodium Soy
  • 1/4 Cup – Brown Sugar (Turbinado can be substituted)

The Process

  1. Preheat RTV Retherm Oven to 200°F Vapor Temp/350°F Air Temp.
  2. Place tossed ingredients onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Cook in oven for about 25-35 minutes (to desired doneness).

The Recipe – Sauce

While beef and broccoli are cooking, add the following ingredients to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer 2-3 minutes:

  • 1/4 Cup – Low Sodium Soy
  • 1/4 Cup – Brown Sugar (or Turbinado)
  • 7-8 – Cloves Garlic (microplaned or chopped finely)
  • 1 Tbs – Fresh Ginger (microplaned or chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp – Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 Tbs – Sesame Oil
events beef and broccoli emerging from oven
beef and broccoli on sheet pan
beef and broccoli with chopsticks

The Finished Dish

Once the beef and broccoli has finished cooking, transfer the mix to a clean bowl. Dress with the prepared sauce. Combine until well-coated.

We suggest serving with white or brown rice. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

We thoroughly enjoyed eating another successful CVap experiment.

Delicious Asian Dumplings, CVap Style

Dipping dumplings in soy sauce

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. We celebrated by preparing dumplings in our CVap® ovens.

It’s always fun to scratch cook. But we cheated a little with these. Frozen premade dumplings are delicious and easy. We prepared two distinct types:

  • Bao – Fluffy steamed buns. These are traditionally stuffed with a pork mixture. Bao originated in China. They’ve been a part of Chinese cuisine for over a millennium.
  • Jiaozi – Also known as potstickers, these dumplings are usually filled with ground meat and vegetables, wrapped in a wonton wrapper, and sealed by pressing the edges together. Jiaozi are popular throughout Southeast Asia and Western countries. Like bao, jiaozi has been around for over a thousand years.

Gentle Steaming in CVap

Our goal was to demonstrate the gentle steaming abilities of CVap CHV Cook and Hold Oven and RTV Retherm Ovens. Most commercial steamers cook at 212°F or higher. Steam is incredibly efficient at thermal transfer. Consequently, blasting away at food with boiling-temp steam can easily overcook it.

On the other hand, CVap ovens can generate a 100% humidity environment at 200°F vapor, 200°F air. As “gentle steam” implies, this environment is ideal for more delicate foods. Above all, the operator has more control over food quality. And what is more delicate than a bao dumpling?

bao dumplings being prepared for CVap oven

Into the Ovens

Both the CHV and RTV ovens were set to 200/200. We cooked half the dumplings in traditional bamboo steamer baskets. On the other hand, the rest were placed directly onto perforated sheet pans.

As expected, the dumplings cooked a bit faster in the retherm oven. The RTV is more powerful. Accordingly, it excelled at retherming these frozen treats. Both the bamboo and the sheet pan preparations produced excellent results. One advantage to the steamer baskets is that the dumplings may be served directly to the consumer, without removing them from the basket. In contrast, the sheet pan dumplings had to be plated.

Some traditionalists believe that the bamboo steamers give the dumplings a hint of a woody flavor that improves the quality of the dish.

In the end, no matter how they were prepared, or which oven cooked them, they were nonetheless delicious. Certainly, they provided a great opportunity to practice our chopstick skills.

Dumpling Type

RTV Cook Time

CHV Cook Time

Bao

15 – 25 minutes (depending on size)

20 – 30 minutes (depending on size)

Pot Sticker

15 – 20 minutes (depending on size)

20 – 25 minutes (depending on size)

Char Siu Bao, The Flavors of China

Char siu bao

Char siu bao is a Cantonese barbecue pork-filled bun. They are typically sold in Chinese bakeries.  Likewise, they are similar to a type of dim sum. Char siu refers to the pork in the filling. Bao means bun.

Undoubtedly, the color red is significant in traditional Chinese culture. Indeed, it symbolizes feelings such as luck, happiness, and joy. Consequently, it’s often worn by brides because of its auspicious power to ward off evil. Accordingly, in honor of this colorful tradition, we cooked char siu bao in a CVap®.

Char siu is based on the traditional cooking method of skewering meat on long forks and placing it in an oven or over a fire. Consequently, the seasonings turn the exterior layer of the meat dark red. In like manner, it’s similar in appearance to the smoke ring seen on properly-smoked American barbecue.

Char siu bao

Char Siu Pork Marinade

  • 1 Cup Red Miso
  • ½ Cup Honey
  • ¼ Cup Soy
  • 3 Tbsp Five Spice Powder
  • Dash of red food coloring

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients.  Consequently, it should form a paste.
  2. Trim center-cut pork loin. Cut into two long strips to make smaller loins.
  3. Rub loins with paste, coating heavily.
  4. Place in refrigerator (uncovered) and allow to dry marinate for two days.
  5. Place in CVap set at 150°F Vapor temp/225°F Air Temp.
  6. Roast for 50 minutes.
  7. Remove and slice, portion, and chill.

Finish Your Char Siu Bao

Naturally, char siu is usually eaten with a starch such as noodles, rice, or bao. In this case, we prepared bao for our char siu pork.

To prepare bao, double-proof the dough balls (proof at 90°F Vapor Temp – 90°F Air Temp. Next, knock down dough and re-form rolls. Subsequently, proof one additional hour at the same settings. Finally, cook them in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven in a foil-covered, perforated 2¼” half steam table pan. Set temperature to 200°F Vapor Temp/205°F Air Temp for 16 minutes.

You can find the bao recipe here.

Bao
barry yates

A seasoned foodservice industry pro like our late friend Chef Barry taught us all a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this business! He worked with scores of trailblazers throughout his career and owned or operated his share of restaurants. Barry passed away in March 2022. He is deeply missed.