Vermicelli (meaning “little worms”) is a style of pasta in the same family as all types of spaghetti, the only significant difference in most commercial varieties is in the thickness of the noodle. Few food staples have generated as much controversy as the origin of pasta; the legend that Marco Polo introduced pasta to the West following his travels through China has long been debunked: that myth originated in the 1920s or 30s in an advertisement for a Canadian spaghetti company. In all likelihood, pasta/noodles arose independently in China and the Mediterranean basins about the same time.
From its initial cultivation in China, 8000-12000 years ago, rice has spread across the globe to become the most important grain for human consumption, providing essential caloric intake—one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide—and a significant percentage of the necessary vitamins and minerals. Whether white, brown, or golden, long-, medium-, or short-grained, rice is a staple in most, if not every, food culture.
Whichever of the two above staples you prefer for your stir-fry (or you choose one or the other at various times), the rest of this recipe stays pretty much the same, allowing for individual modifications and is perfect for cool or cold weather days.
- 8 oz. uncooked vermicelli or favorite rice
- 1 ½ cups of orange juice
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into thin bite-sized strips
- 1 yellow onion—Sweet Yellow or Vidalia
- 1 Red, Yellow, or Orange bell pepper, cut into thin bite-sized strips
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- ¾ teaspoon of five-spice powder
- Soy sauce
- 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
M. Cook vermicelli or your favorite rice as directed on packages. Drain; cover to keep warm.
N. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix orange juice, cornstarch, soy sauce, sugar, five-spice powder and pepper flakes until well blended; set aside.
O. Heat 10-inch nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until beef is desired doneness and onion is crisp-tender.
P. Add and bell pepper; cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add cornstarch mixture; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and thickened. Serve over vermicelli.
Side Dishes: Pot Stickers, Egg Drop Soup, Crab Rangoon