Tag Archives: asian

Shaking Beef

When my husband casually walked into the kitchen the other day, asking “What’s for dinner?”, he had such a puzzled look when I replied “Shaking Beef.” I started to explain myself, and then upon seeing him quickly lose interest, yet not gain any understanding, I stopped myself short and said “It’s a beef stir-fry.” Sometimes I need to remember that fancy names for dishes get me nowhere at home.

But in order to satisfy your curiosity, I’ll share with you. This dish is Vietnamese in origin, and gets its name not from some miraculous trembling act it does on the plate, but rather from the shaking motion you use when stir-frying the beef and onions. This particular recipe is based very closely on a recipe from Charles Phan at Slanted Door restaurant, one of the many places I MUST visit whenever I might get to San Francisco. Until then, following his recipe at home will be the closest we’ll get. Good thing it’s relatively straightforward. It was also very easy to convert to gluten-free, too – all I needed was to ensure my soy sauce and fish sauce were gluten-free. (I discovered early in my gluten-free days that Three Crabs brand is not gluten-free. Now I stick with those brands that have short ingredient lists – usually no more than fish, sugar, and salt.) The soy sauce I use is San-J Low Sodium Tamari.

So now that you know about Shaking Beef, and how easy it is, go forth and impress (or confuse) others with your dish!

Shaking Beef, adapted from Charles Phan

1 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 garlic cloves, chopped

2 T agave nectar

2 t kosher salt

1 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

5 T canola oil

1/4 c rice wine vinegar

1/4 c rice wine or white wine

3 T gluten-free soy sauce

1 T fish sauce

Juice of 1 medium lime

2 bunches watercress or 1 small head red leaf lettuce, separated into leaves

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 T unsalted butter

In large bowl, place meat, garlic, 1 tablepsoon agave nectar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and no more than 12 hours. (I actually only marinated for an hour, and it was still quite flavorful.) Whisk together rice-wine vinegar, wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon agave nectar and set aside. In small ramekin, whisk together lime juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Arrange watercress or lettuce on four plates.

Divide meat into 2 portions and place in two medium bowls.

In wok or large skillet over high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil until smoking, then add one bowl of meat in one layer. Sear until brown crust forms, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip to brown other side, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of red onion slices and half scallions, and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup vinegar mixture and shake pan to release beef, stirring if necessary. Add 1 tablespoon butter, shaking pan until butter melts. Remove meat, and repeat with remaining portion of meat and remaining onions, scallions, vinegar mixture, and butter.

Arrange beef on top of watercress/lettuce and serve with lime dipping sauce and a side of steamed jasmine or brown rice.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Beef, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Sirloin and Broccoli

Some up-front honesty before we get started: I debated whether to post this. Not because it wasn’t delicious – it most certainly was. No doubt about that. I just felt that the photo doesn’t do the dish justice. This is a dish that is bursting with flavor, demanded that I take seconds, and was indeed greater than the sum of its parts. In my opinion, this photo just didn’t convey those attributes enough. Unfortunately, it was also so well-enjoyed that by the time I downloaded the photos from my camera and came upon this realization, the opportunity to retake the pictures was long gone. All that remained were a few stray rice grains in the pan. Has this ever happened to you?

After some serious consideration, I decided to go forward with it. After all, why should I make you wait until next time (and there will be a next time!)? You should be able to enjoy a dish like this today. I’m a firm believer in immediate gratification when it comes to food.

The inspiration for this recipe came from the latest edition of Food and Wine magazine, amid other healthy, delicious recipes. (Yes, Food and Wine published a lot of healthy recipes this month! I was pretty darned excited, if I do say so.) Su-Mei Yu was the creator of a delectable Stir-Fried Red Rice with Sliced Sirloin Steak and Peas dish. Unfortunately, I didn’t have red rice on hand, and I knew it would require a bit of searching to locate. While I fully intend on tracking down some red rice, just to try it out, I wanted to make this dish now. (You know, that while immediate gratification thing.) So I substituted short-grain brown rice, changed up the vegetables a bit, and basically took a large number of liberties to suit my needs. Not sure that in the end, I’m actually following the original recipe at all, but regardless, I was definitely inspired.

The verdict? As you saw in the first paragraph, this was a hit. Who says healthy has to be bland or boring? I loved the slight heat the chile oil gave, loved the brightness of the cilantro and lime, and practically licked my plate clean. Even the husband was pleasantly surprised. (He’s not much for Asian cuisine, especially when it comes to a bunch of vegetables stir-fried together.) This recipe will definitely appear on the Tasty Eats menu again in the future.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Sirloin and Broccoli, adapted from Su-Mei Yu – Food and Wine magazine

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets

2 T olive oil (not extra-virgin)

8 oz sirloin steak, sliced thinly into strips

Salt and pepper

½ large sweet onion, diced

1 ½ T grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 c frozen peas, thawed

2 c short-grain brown rice, cooked (either follow your rice cooker’s instructions, or follow Nicole’s super-cool instructions for perfect brown rice) and cooled to room temperature

2 T gluten-free soy sauce (La Choy and Tan-J sell gluten-free varieties)

1 T fish sauce

1 t sesame oil

½ t chile oil (optional – can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)

½ c chopped cilantro

1 lime, sliced into wedges

Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to cover the broccoli, and bring to a boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water and set aside. When water is boiling, add broccoli and submerge. Boil for 1 minute and drain, and quickly dunk broccoli into ice water to stop cooking. When cool, drain broccoli and set aside.

In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil at medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the steak strips, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and spread out into a single layer. Brown for about 1 minute. Remove and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add the onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots and sauté for another minute or two. Add the broccoli, peas, and rice and stir. Let sit untouched for about a minute, until you hear everything sizzle. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and stir. Add the steak, sesame oil, and chile oil and stir again. Remove from heat and serve garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Rice

Chicken and Fried Wild Rice

food-9581

Heidi Swanson, of 101 Cookbooks http://www.101cookbooks.com/ and author of the book Super Natural Cooking, inspired my variation on traditional fried rice with her fried wild rice recipe. Fried rice is something that is easy, fast, and for me, addictive. I can’t stop eating it. One caveat: I am referring to good fried rice. The fried rice I’ve encountered in most Chinese take-out places is boring and not all that appetizing to me. But making it at home? I could eat bowlfuls. Best of all? It’s adaptive. It’s creative. You take a bit of leftover rice, and basically, you throw in whatever is around. Leftovers repurposed! That’s a cheap meal I can cozy up to.

 One “rule” to follow: use leftover rice. If you try to steam some rice right away to make fried rice, no matter what kind of rice it is, you will end up with a goopy, mushy mess. When rice sits overnight in the refrigerator, it sort of “dries out”, making it perfect to fry up. So next time you’re making rice, just make a point to make extra so you can have fried rice the next day.

Otherwise, the ingredients are up to you. I used a wild rice and brown rice blend instead of my usual jasmine rice. Figured I could benefit from the added nutrition, and I love the textural (and visual!) variety that wild rice provides. You can use just about any type of rice you have. Next time, I think I might seek out a bit of asparagus instead of peas and carrots for some variety. You could reduce the chicken to 1/2 pound rather than the full pound. Or substitute shrimp, or tofu, it’s really all about preferences and what’s available. If you have leftover cooked chicken, that could be easy and would make the recipe go even faster, as you could eliminate the marinade steps entirely.

Last but not least, I have mentioned Sambal Oelek several times in various recipes. As this is a new ingredient to some, I attempted to take a picture of my bottle in an effort to help you all locate it in the store. (The label is shiny gold, so it doesn’t photograph all that well.) You can find it in the Asian section of many grocery stores. Huy Fong seems to be one of the common brands. They also show that you can order it on their website. http://www.huyfong.com/no_frames/oelek.htm This stuff is amazing though, if you like spicy foods. I love it. I had to put a little spoonful in my own bowl of fried rice, just to personalize it a bit.

sambal oelek

And now, for the fried rice recipe. This serves about 4. (note: can be gluten-free, if you use gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce)

For the chicken:

1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 t sambal oelek (chili paste)

1 clove garlic, minced

½ t ginger, minced

1 T tamari or soy sauce

1 t sesame oil

 

For the rice:

2 T sesame oil

4 eggs, scrambled

1 small shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 t ginger, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

½ c frozen peas, thawed

2 T chopped red cabbage

2-3 c cooked wild rice mix (preferably refrigerated overnight)

1 t fish sauce

1 t tamari or soy sauce

Small handful of torn cilantro leaves

 

Place the chicken with the sambal oelek, garlic, ginger, tamari/soy sauce and sesame oil in a Ziploc bag and seal. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Remove from marinade, pat dry with paper towels.

 

Heat a wok or large, deep skillet to medium-high heat. Add ½ t sesame oil, swirl to coat pan. Add eggs, and scramble in pan, cooking for about 30 seconds or just until the eggs set. (they will still be just a bit runny) Remove from pan and set aside.

 

Add an additional ½ t sesame oil if necessary. Add chicken to pan, spreading out into the thinnest layer possible. Leave chicken untouched for 2-3 minutes, or until the chicken browns. Turn chicken over to brown all over, and cook until no longer pink, 4-5 minutes total. Remove chicken and set aside.

 

Lower heat to medium. Wipe pan clean, and add remaining sesame oil. Swirl to coat pan. Add shallot, garlic, and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add rice, and turn heat up to high. Spread rice out in pan, and let sit, untouched, for 1 minute. Add chicken, eggs, carrots, peas, and cabbage. Stir again, and let sit untouched for another minute. Add fish sauce and tamari/soy sauce, and stir to incorporate. Taste. Does it need more salt? Add more tamari/soy sauce. Does it need more sesame oil? Then add another ½ teaspoon or so. Stir one last time, and leave it untouched for another minute or so, until the rice is really toasting on the bottom of the pan! Then remove from heat, sprinkle torn cilantro leaves over, and serve.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Rice

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

food-9541Years ago, I bought a Cooking Light cookbook, thinking I would make healthy recipes and they would be delicious. After attempting a few, I decided I didn’t really like Cooking Light recipes. Not sure if it was my lack of experience in the kitchen at the time, or perhaps Cooking Light has significantly improved their recipes, but now, they have some pretty good, simple, weeknight recipes available! This recipe came together in about 30 – 40 minutes. I did make some modifications, I added ginger and sesame oil, and omitted most of the sugar. I also didn’t add chopped peanuts at the end, but I probably will next time…I just didn’t have any at the house. This recipe makes 4 servings…the original recipe quoted about 420 calories per serving (which I couldn’t believe, it felt so filling!). Mine might be a wee bit more than that, with the addition of oils, but that tasty addition of sesame oil to me was well worth it!

Peanut Sauce:

1/3 c creamy peanut butter

1/3 c water

2 T tamari or soy sauce

1 ½ T rice vinegar

2 t sambal oelek (chili paste)

Pinch sugar

½ t sesame oil

 

Shrimp:

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ t minced ginger

1 t cornstarch

Salt and pepper

1 T peanut oil

 

Pasta:

8 oz udon noodles (or linguine)

½ t sesame oil

 

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 chopped, seeded cucumber (do not peel)

¼ c sliced green onions

2 T cilantro, chopped

 

Lime wedges, for serving

 

To prepare the sauce, combine the peanut sauce ingredients and whisk until incorporated. The sauce should be consistency of cream, add additional water if necessary.

 

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Once cooked and drained, toss sesame oil with noodles to keep them from sticking to one another. Set aside.

 

To prepare the shrimp, mix them with the ginger, cornstarch, and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper. Let sit for a minute. Heat up a wok or large, deep skillet to medium-high heat and add the peanut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shrimp, and spread out into a single layer in the pan. Let sit, untouched, for 1-2 minutes. Flip over and continue cooking until pink, another 3 minutes or so. Remove pan from heat.

 

Add the sauce, noodles, bell pepper, and cucumber to the pan along with the shrimp. Toss to mix ingredients well (since the pan is still warm, this ought to warm up the sauce and noodles). Serve sprinkled with green onions and cilantro, with lime wedges.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta, Seafood