Five Spice Beef

Australian butchers don’t seem to know about how to cut Viener Schnitzel. They cut it too thick. Also, they call it “flat-iron steak” for some reason. Too thin to be a steak unless you like it overcooked, and too thick for a proper melt-in-the-mouth schnitzel.  However, when it is going cheap, there are other uses to which it can be put.

Such as Five Spice Beef.


Any good cut of beef will do for this recipe, but the secret is to slice it as thinly as you can. For normal cuts it is easier if the meat is partially frozen, or partially thawed, to make it easier to slice.  If the meat is a cheaper cut, there is an old trick that will make it tender. You may wonder how the takeaways do it.  Just add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to the marinade.  It will tenderise the meat in an hour or so.

I had 400g of steak, which is plenty for two or three serves with rice.

In a bowl with the sliced meat I added

  • two teaspoons cornflour
  • One teaspoon five spice powder
  • a dash of thick soy sauce
  • a dash of fish sauce
  • a glug of oyster sauce
  • a grind of pepper
  • a teaspoon of grated ginger
  • Plenty of crushed garlic
  • A dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • baking soda if necessary


Stir all the ingredients and leave to stand at least half an hour, overnight is good, but not with the baking soda. Mush!

Cooking takes almost no time at all. Heat peanut oil in a pan or wok and quickly stir fry the meat. As it browns, add about a quarter cup of water and a cup of frozen peas.

Once the meat is cooked and the sauce thickened, there you have it.  Delicious!


Serve with rice.


About Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.
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