Tender beef strips and vegetables in a rich black bean sauce. Stir-frying is a great way to make a little red meat stretch a long way.

1 cup long-grain rice
3 tablespoons black bean sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
12 oz (360 g) lean beef—cut into thin strips along the grain
12 green beans—ends trimmed and cut in ½ on the diagonal
1 red pepper—juliened
1 onion—cut into 8 wedges and separated into pieces
3 cloves garlic—minced (crushed)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1½ cups beef stock
1½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed to a paste with 1½ tablespoons water

COOK the rice. MIX together the black bean and soy sauces, Chinese rice wine, sugar and pepper in a bowl. HEAT a wok or large frying pan over a high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the beef for 5 minutes. REMOVE the beef from the wok and set aside on a plate. HEAT the remaining oil in the wok and stir-fry the greens beans, red pepper and onion for 7 minutes. ADD the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another minute, then return the beef to the wok. ADD the sauce mixture and stock, then add the cornstarch paste and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened. SERVE on a bed of rice.

Variation: This black bean sauce also goes well with chicken, lean pork, squid, shrimp or bite-sized pieces of firm white fish.