I call this recipe “Asian Picadillo” because it’s so similar to the Picadillo dish so popular in Latino cooking. Picadillo, to us, is mainly stir fried ground beef with tomatoes, olives, raisins, pepper, salt and oregano. And, yes, sometimes we do add peas to it as in Niu Jou Sung (Chopped Beef with Peas).

Now, this dish is interesting in that there’s a Cantonese version which uses oyster sauce in its ingredients. A Korean version has ginger, sesame seeds and scallions in it. And some versions include monosodium glutamate. The version given below is much simpler. All it contains is soy sauce mixed with dry sherry, brown sugar and cornstarch. It’s so easy to prepare. Another one of its benefits, maybe 20 minutes to make, tops.

So, here it is, Niu Jou Sung served over plain steamed rice, the preferred accompaniment.

(Chopped Beef with Peas)


1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon dry sherry
¼ teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 package (16 ounce) frozen peas (completely thawed)
2 tablespoons peanut oil or corn oil
½ tablespoon cornstarch combined with
2 tablespoons cold water

  1. Combine ground beef with marinade ingredients. Set aside.
  2.  Heat pan or wok over medium heat until very hot. Ad oil, then beef. Stir-fry over medium heat until meat separates and has mostly changed in color (no red showing). Turn heat to high, add peas and mix them in with meat, letting them cook together for 1 minute.
  3.  Mix cornstarch- and- water combination well. Slowly add to meat and peas while you continue stirring until sauce thickens and coats everything with a clear glaze. serve hot with plain rice.
    Yield: 4 servings.