Saturday, August 8, 2009

Korean Style Beef Bowl

This recipe is nice because there's no need to marinade the meat far in advance and there is very little prep, but the taste is dyn-o-mite.

Steak and Marinade

2 Green onions with tops, divided
1 lb skirt steak
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp sugar (I prefer brown)
1 tsp vegetable oil

Rice and Vegetables

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
2 medium carrots
2 cups bean sprouts

1. For steak and marinade, thinly slice green onions and save about a table spoon for garnish. Place the rest in a bowl or whatever you are going to marinade the meat in. I like big ziplock bags, its easier to make sure all the meat gets sauced.

2. Cut steak crosswise into 2 inch pieces. Slice each piece into thin strips, against the grain. Add these to the bowl or bag. Press garlic over beef. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, black pepper and sugar; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. As beef marinates, microwave rice according to package directions. Really you can prepare anyway you like, but I always microwave my rice. I cannot get it to come out right on the stove top. We have pyrex dishes with tops that have a little steam hole, which we use to steam everything. This type of dish works really well, and the jasmine rice we buy only takes fifteen minutes or so in the microwave. 

4. For the veggies, peel the carrots; discard skin. Continue peeling carrots to make long ribbons and place in ice water until ready to serve.

5. To finish steak, add some oil to a skillet (vegetable or olive); heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes until shimmering. Add beef and marinade to the skillet. Try to get a single layer to cook evenly, 2 minutes undisturbed. Stir; cook another 3-4 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat.

6. Remove rice from microwave, fluff with fork. To serve, divide rice among bowls and serve with beef, carrots and bean sprouts. Garnish with green onion.

Yields: 4 servings

Tips for steak: Skirt steak is labeled a cheap cut of meat, but it is expensive where we live. It must be gaining in popularity. I usually will use whatever steak cut is cheapest, but skirt steak is worth the extra little bit when using it for this or fajitas. Be sure to cut against the grain or it will turn tough. That goes for any steak, but especially skirt steak which has a lot of connective tissue to begin with coming from the bottom of the cows belly. Do NOT overcook it or it will turn tough very quickly. It's okay if there is some pink left, trust me- you do not want to overcook the steak.

Tips for marinade: This marinade is really flavorful and thickens a little to make a nice sauce when cooked. You probably do not have sesame oil on hand, but it is worth getting. Trust me, you'll want to use it again for this recipe and most asian recipes use it so you'll have reason to expand your horizons. I've played around using some other ingredients. I use brown sugar, but the last time I cut back on the sugar and added some molasses. It wasn't as sweet but had a nice flavor.

Tips on rice: If you haven't had jasmine rice, you will like it. It's lighter and fluffier than normal rice, cooks quickly and doesn't have that minute rice texture. Trust me, you do not want to substitute regular white or brown rice.

Tips on bean sprouts: I've only used bean sprouts for this recipe. They seem keep for a day or two in the fridge, so pick them up the same day or day before making this recipe. After a couple of days they get kind of slimy, okay, really slimy. They are fine if you rinse them off really well, but who wants to touch slimy bean sprouts.