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Jun 5, 2011

Sweet Sour Beef with Fennel

I know, I know ... sweet sour pork is the traditional Chinese dish. I just like changing things around ... again. I love sweet and sour pork but unfortunately, today, when I was so craving for it, I didn't have pork in my freezer but these 2 pieces of wahyu tenderloin. Didn't feel like running out to the shops either ... let's improvise!

There's always a bulb of fennel in my fridge. Why not?

Guess what? It worked! Well, I wouldn't have tried it if I didn't think it'd work in the first place .... I mean, Wahyu beef ... Hellooo ...


*Note: Sorry for the lack of measurements, but I really just threw this together and Chinese cooking is all about a dash of this and a dash of that anyway. Taste the sauce as you go along, adjust as you see fit.

beef , cut into cubes (you'll want to whack them silly later)

fennel, cut into wedges

onion, cut into wedges

about 1/4 cup tomato ketchup

vinegar (whatever type you have on hand, I used white vinegar, balsamic would've been good too) (in ratio to the ketchup, maybe 1 tbs unless you want it more sour than sweet)

dash or two of oyster sauce (a couple of tbs)

mustard (I used American style mustard and not the English blow-your-head-off mustard)

cornstarch for dredging

cornstarch + water mixture (to thicken sauce)



Pound the beef cubes using the back of a heavy meat knife or a meat mallet until you get nice, even, flat pieces.

Dredge the meat with cornstarch, shake excess off and shallow fry them in hot oil until slightly crisp. Remove.

In a clean pan, saute the onions lightly in a little oil (I like it with a bit of crunch), stir in fennel. Cook until slightly translucent. Stir in oyster sauce, ketchup, a good squeeze of the mustard bottle and vinegar to taste.

Add about a half cup water. Bring to a boil, simmer to reduce a little and add in cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce.

Stir in beef pieces to coat evenly.

Garnish with some fennel fuzz if you like.

Serve hot with fluffy white rice.

*Did I confuse you enough? :P

I really should remember to measure out my stuff, it's just that I didn't think I'd be posting this until I tasted it. Alternatively, just use a basic sweet and sour recipe and substitute it with the beef. There! Easy peasy.


  1. What delicious looking beef! Thanks Ping, now I know what to do with fennel. This is one ingredient I want to learn to cook. I am sure we'll enjoy this. Cheers!!!

  2. Nice. I heard about the term aga aga in Malaysia meaning cooking by estimation.

  3. Hello Art. You're very welcome. I love fennel, it's so versatile, peppery when fresh, sweet when roasted/cooked. I'll bet you'll get as addicted to it as I am :D

    3Cookies: Haha! You're certainly very well informed :D Yes, that's the way most local things are cooked here. Very difficult to get a recipe out of the old pros for the local dishes :(

  4. Your wweet & sour beef just look awesome! There's really nothing wrong with omitting and substituting ingredients. It actually makes any dish better most of the time!