I recently reviewed my blog posts and realized that not only were there few meat recipes (not surprising since I personally follow a mostly “Mediterranean” style diet) but also few entrees. Here’s a post to rectify the dearth of both meat and entree recipes.
I came across a recipe for Spicy Korean Beef in a quarterly compilation of Cooks Illustrated and it inspired me to create this dish. Any excuse to use my Thai Pepper plant is generally inspiration enough, but it was learning about the mix of sweet and spicy along with the saltiness of fish sauce that moved me to action.
Although I went into some detail on the importance of advance preparation when making stir frys here I also want to add that when using beef in a stir fry a cook’s trick is to freeze the beef for 30 minutes before slicing it. This firms up the meat just enough so that it is easier to make thin slices that cook in record time. Also, do not skip the marinade step, it is important to bringing the full flavor to the dish. It is because of these steps that stir frys, done traditionally, are not as “quick” as people believe. Give yourself at least an hour and a half (including freezing time for beef) from beginning to table.
Spicy Thai Beef and Broccoli
1/2 lb steak, defatted, frozen for no more than 30 minutes, 1/8 inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cloves garlic, sliced in flat disks
3-4 scallions, white parts sliced; green parts in 3 inch pieces
1 crown broccoli, cut into even, bite size pieces
3 green thai chilies cut lengthwise on the diagonal (or other green chilies such as serrano) Deseed for less spiciness
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
white part of scallions
grinds of pepper
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Oil for cooking (peanut, safflower, grapeseed, NOT olive oil)
Mix Sauce ingredients and blend well. Heat wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add beef in its marinade and fry for 3-4 minutes until cooked. Remove meat to bowl and wipe out wok. Reheat wok and add 2 tablespoons cooking oil and heat until smoking. Add sliced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add broccoli and green chilies and stir fry 6-8 minutes, tossing continually. Add beef back to wok and green parts of scallions and toss another minute. Give sauce another whisk and add to wok and toss to coat another minute. Remove from heat and serve with rice or other grain.
P.S. Cooking the chilies in the sauce does not give the sauce a fiery flavor; biting into them will. This version is not particularly spicy (for some who like really hot food) so to up the heat quotient I would recommend adding two dried chilies, whole, to the meat marinade and remove when finished cooking.
P.P.S. If you ever find the opportunity to acquire a Thai Pepper plant I highly recommend it! The plant is gorgeous, easily living indoors in colder climates, and their spice seems to be tempered after a deep watering. Be sure it is already fruiting when you buy it since it only produces peppers in the second year.