Saturday, January 27, 2007

Thai Beef

I caught an episode of America's Test Kitchen the other day. It's been a long time since there was an episode I hadn't already seen. They were doing a beef stir fry that sounded pretty tasty. I made this the other evening with the Szechaun Green Beans. As I mentioned with the green beans, they weren't that great. This beef was pretty good! I'd make it again.

Stir-Fried Thai-Style Beef w/Chiles and Shallots
-America's Test Kitchen
Serves 4 with rice
If you cannot find blade steaks, use flank steak; because flank steak requires less trimming, you will need only about 1 3/4 pounds. To cut a flank steak into the proper-sized slices for stir-frying, first cut the steak with the grain into 1 1/2-inch strips, then cut the strips against the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. White pepper lends this stir-fry a unique flavor; black pepper is not a good substitute. Serve the stir-fry with steamed jasmine rice.

Beef and Marinade
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 TB fish sauce
2 lb blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips

2 TB fish sauce
2 TB rice vinegar
2 TB water
1 TB light brown sugar
1 TB Asian chili-garlic paste
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 TB vegetable oil
3 serrano or jalapeƱo chiles, halved, seeds and ribs removed, chiles cut crosswise 1/8 inch thick
3 medium shallots, trimmed, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and layers separated
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, large leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
lime wedges for serving

1. FOR THE BEEF AND MARINADE: Combine coriander, white pepper, brown sugar, and fish sauce in large bowl. Add beef, toss well to combine; marinate 15 minutes.

NOTE: I couldn't get flank or blade steak at the store. They did have some roast that was sliced really thin, against the grain. It was a fine substitute. Very tender and held up to the cooking. As for the marinade; I only had about 3/4 lb of beef and there hardly enough marinade. If I make this again in the future with a full 2 lbs of beef, I'll double the marinade quantities.

2. FOR THE STIR-FRY: In small bowl, stir together fish sauce, vinegar, water, brown sugar, and chili-garlic paste until sugar dissolves; set aside. In small bowl, mix garlic with 1 teaspoon oil; set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add one-third of beef to skillet in even layer. Cook, without stirring, until well browned, about 2 minutes, then stir and continue cooking until beef is browned around edges and no longer pink in the center, about 30 seconds. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional oil and remaining meat in 2 more batches.

3. After transferring last batch of beef to bowl, reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to now-empty skillet and swirl to coat. Add chiles and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Push chile-shallot mixture to sides of skillet to clear center; add garlic to clearing and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir to combine garlic with chile-shallot mixture. Add fish sauce mixture to skillet; increase heat to high and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 seconds. Return beef and any accumulated juices to skillet, toss well to combine and coat with sauce, stir in half of mint and cilantro; serve immediately, sprinkling individual servings with portion of peanuts and remaining herbs, and passing lime wedges separately.

NOTE: Fresh mint is crucial. Don't make this if you don't have the fresh mint. It just works so well and really makes this dish pop. I completely forgot about the peanuts...oops. Maybe next time. Make sure you have all your ingredients measured out and prepared. This all moves pretty quickly and you don't want to stop to find something in the fridge or cupboard. For all the jalapenos and chili sauce, this really isn't a 'hot' dish. I was surprised by the mild heat. Perhaps it's the fresh herbs and lime that cut some of the heat? Very good!

I look forward to making this again.


Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I saw that episode as well and I was starving by the time it was over.

Dancer in DC said...

I thought this was very tasty. Full-flavored and not too chewy. He's right that the fresh mint was a key ingredient - don't skimp on that!

Anonymous said...
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dupont chef said...

We made the dumplings from this episode, yumm!! It was quite a bit of work, but worth it.

ScottE. said...

dupont chef: I vaguely remember seeing the dumplings...I do remember saying it they looked easier than the dumplings I've made in the past. I'll have to give them a try.