On Valentine’s weekend we decided a lighter Asian dish would be great for dinner so Steve went off to the grocery store while I stayed at home and created some sweet treats. We were going to make Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce but when he got back we realized we didn’t have oyster sauce. 😦 But we had the main ingredients for the recipe on the next page of my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook – “Thai-Style Chile Beef”. I was missing the chili paste so I used 1/2 tsp of sambal oelek and the rice vinegar so I used white vinegar. I’m not a big fan of spice so I also left out the fresh chiles. I’m not sure I should be reviewing this recipe, considering that but I wanted to talk about the technique. I love it! I set my electric burner to about 7 on the dial and used a cast iron skillet. OMG the meat was perfection! It was seared and yummy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside. My mouth is watering just thinking about.
Thai-Style Chile Beef
Original recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp white pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 lbs blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1/4 in strips (or substitute with 1 3/4 lb flank steak)
Sauce and garnish
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Asian chili-garlic sauce (I used sambal oelak)
3 – 4 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 – 4 jalapenos/serranos, ribs and seeds removed, cut crosswise into 1/8 in pieces
3 medium shallots, roughly quartered
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, large leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 C roughly chopped peanuts
Lime wedges for serving
For the stir-fry: First trim the blade steak. There is a bit of silverskin along the outside of the blade steak that will need to be trimmed away. You’ll also see in the picture that there is also a line of gristle that runs down the center of the steak. Cut the steak in half lengthwise to cut out the gristle. Then cut the meat against the grain into 1/4 in strips.
Combine fish sauce, sugar, coriander, and the white pepper in a large bowl. Add beef, toss well to combine; marinade for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos and cut crosswise into 1/4 in pieces and roughly quarter the shallots.
For the sauce and garnish: Stir together fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves and set aside. In a second small bowl, mix garlic and 1 tsp of oil and set aside.
To prepare stir fry: Heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add a third of the beef and quickly distribute the strips in an even layer in the skillet. Cook until the beef is browned on the first side, about 2 minutes, without stirring then flip the pieces to the second side and cook until browned, about 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer the beef to a bowl. Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the skillet and repeat the browning process twice more to cook the rest of the beef.
After the beef is cooked, reduce the heat to medium, and add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the skillet. Add the jalapenos and shallots and cook, stirring frequently until they begin to soften, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 10 – 15 seconds. Add the sauce to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high until the sauce is thickened. Add the beef and any juices back to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Take off the heat and stir in the fresh herbs.
Serve over rice with chopped peanuts on top and lime wedges on the side.