I wish I could say this recipe came to me handwritten on a scrap of parchment in Macau Creole by my great-great-great grandma, but because Mom was raised in a household where hired guns did all the cooking, she never learned any local recipes growing up. The recipe that follows is adapted from “Taste of Macau: Portuguese Cuisine on the China Coast” by Annabel Jackson, and seems to be close to the one Mom described from her youth.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 small baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- olive oil for cooking
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked rice for serving
- Fried eggs (optional) for serving — allow 1 per diner, if using
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and set aside.
- Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and return the skillet to the stove. When the skillet has reheated, add the the onion and bay leaf and sauté until the onion is golden. Remove the onion and bay leaf from the skillet and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic. Sauté the garlic, pressing on it to release its aroma. Remove and discard the garlic when it has browned on all sides.
- Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook, stirring and breaking the meat apart until it crumbles. Continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the reserved onion and bay leaf to the skillet with the meat. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.
- In a small cup, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar and pour this mixture into the skillet. Continue cooking and stirring for another 3-5 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Add the potatoes, mix well, and stir just until the potatoes are heated through. Remove from heat when done.
- If serving with fried eggs, fry the eggs to your liking now; it’s almost time to eat.
- Serve with plenty of rice. Top with the optional fried eggs if desired.
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