Hye Thyme Cafe: Steak Kew

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Steak Kew

Steak Kew : Hye Thyme Cafe

For some reason, I've had Chinese food on the brain lately - mostly Orange Peel Chicken and Duck Sauce. No, not together, but I keep thinking about how I've never had Duck Sauce like what we used to get when I was growing up in MA. It had an almost applesauce consistency to it. Everywhere else I've had it is more syrupy, or what you would expect for a Sweet & Sour sauce. In any event, given that we've eaten so much poultry lately, I went in the other direction and made Steak Kew. That was always a favorite of ours, but we haven't had it in forever. And no, you don't serve Duck Sauce with Steak Kew either. It's just been on my mind.

Never having made it at home, I looked at several recipes online for inspiration. They all seemed to call for ribeye steaks, but when I went to the market and saw how thin they all were, I opted to pick up three nice, thick strip steaks and was very pleased with the result! It stayed very juicy and tender, even when microwaving the leftovers the next day. That's a good steak!

3 thick-cut strip steaks
1/4 c canola oil
5 oz low sodium soy sauce
1 T minced garlic (I like the jarred with hot red peppers)
1 T freshly grated ginger
5 oz sherry
5-6 oz oyster sauce (if you can't find it, chinese stir-fry sauce)
1/2 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cornstarch **
2-3 lg carrots sliced into coins
1 lg white onion, cut into lg pieces
small head bok choy
1-2 cans sliced water chestnuts
small crown broccoli
1-2 c snow pea pods

Steak Kew : Hye Thyme Cafe

Start by trimming the fat off your steaks and cutting them into 1/4" slices, then in half, so you have bite-sized squares. I like to let meat come to room temp before cooking it, especially in this case, where you'll be flash frying it. I did it in a pot, but if you've got a wok, that would be great.
I usually like to keep pea pods whole, but you can always cut them in half or into thirds on the bias if you like. For the bok choy, I sliced straight across the bottoms to cut strips, then tore the leaves in half and sliced them into ribbons.

Working in batches, sear the beef on both sides in the hot oil and set aside. Pour out the excess oil, and return the pan to the heat, adding half the soy sauce, half the minced garlic, and half the ginger.


Add the veggies to the pot (I gave the onion/carrot a brief head start), then pour in the sherry, stirring to coat, and allow the veggies to steam for about a minute.


Steak Kew : Hye Thyme Cafe

Add the beef back to the pot, and while that's warming up, stir the cornstarch into your oyster sauce (or stir fry sauce) and the remaining soy sauce/ginger/garlic.

Steak Kew : Hye Thyme Cafe

If, like me, you are using a pot and it's pretty full, you might want to scoop out some of your beef/veggies so you've got room to make your sauce. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pan sauce and stir until it thickens.  

Toss everything back together and serve over hot cooked white rice.

**  I was dumbfounded that there was no oyster sauce in the ginormous Asian aisle at the grocery store the day I went, and I was too lazy to make a separate trip to the Asian market just for that, so I read the labels on the various stir-fry sauces and found one that included oyster in the ingredients. The one thing I would change about this dish is that I would make the sauce thicker next time, by increasing the cornstarch. I did not want to note that in the ingredients, because I'm not sure it would be necessary if using oyster sauce. It may just have been that this particular stir fry sauce was thin, so use your best judgment.

I was planning on being silly and serving dinner then putting out a bowl of toothpick laced pineapple chunks over crushed ice, surrounded by fortune cookies like they used to always do at the restaurants, but they only had HUGE boxes of fortune cookies, so I just served some pineapple chunks on the side if you're wondering what that is on the right.

Steak Kew : Hye Thyme Cafe


  1. In the smaller picture I thought it was potato, I thought it was odd. Pineapple makes much more sense. I had never heard of steak kew.

  2. That's funny - now that you say that, I'm left wondering if they even use potatoes. I can't think of one dish - Thai, Polynesian, Cantonese, etc. that includes potato. Hmmmm ...

  3. Chris this looks so delicious, I have been on a Chinese kick recently, probably because of all the holiday food.

  4. This was my first time making the Seak Kew, but the other dish I make a lot is Chicken Chow Mein. LOVE Love love all thos nice crisp veggies! :)

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  6. It really was. I was shocked at how tender the steak was. I was sure it would toughen up being cooked in the oil like that, but not at all.

  7. When I had it in Pittsfield, MA years ago, they used filet mignon and it was wonderful! But I bet the steak was cheaper. i am going to try it your way with oyster sauce. You can get it in Walmart up here.

    1. Wow! That's some Chinese restaurant if they're using filet! That's one thing I miss in MA - the Chinese restaurants were mostly nice regular sit-down restaurants. When I was living in New Orleans and now in NY, they're mostly take-out pizza-style places. A little hole in the wall with a few tables, etc.

  8. I am wondering if what you were having was plum sauce and not duck sauce!

    1. Ha! Nope, but plum sauce is yet another to throw into the mix. Plum sauce is darker and smoother than duck sauce. Funny that you are commenting on this post now though - I was just talking about it with my sister the other day for some reason. Haven't made it in quite a while, so I think it's time to make it again and see if I can find the sauce now - or recreate it. :)


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