Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chinese 5-Spice Flank Steak

This is a recipe from the Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices (page 304). I had great success recently (though not with a corresponding photo, which is why there isn't yet a post about it) with the Lamb Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala from the same cookbook, so I was excited to try this braised beef. There was also an excellent recent article in the Seattle Times about stir-frying, which seemed to make an complementary accompaniment to this the first night. Since this made enough for five servings, the second night I made a roasted cruciferous salad. Details follow.

Chinese Five-Spiced Beef
serves 4-6
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground Chinese Five-Spice
Four 1/4" thick slices of fresh ginger
Two 1/4" thick slices of fresh galangal
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

The recipe calls to boil all ingredients except the meat in a dutch oven, and then reduce heat to low and add beef, the cover tightly and simmer 2-3 hours. I used 1/2 cup soy and 1 cup water, and just added everything all togehter in my crock pot and cooked on high for 2 hours, then on low for 2 hours. It is delicious. Remove lemongrass, ginger, and galangal before serving. Slice steak across the grain and return to pot to heat through before serving.Serve over rice. I used a delicious and attractive Bhutanese red rice which has a nutty texture and a slight sweetness that really went well with this.

Stir Fry Vegetables
serves 2
Really, any vegetables will work, I tried to choose ones that I thought would complement the strong soy flavor of the sauce. Other good choices which I simply didn't have available would be: pea pods, green beans, bean sprouts, and water chestnuts.

1 large carrot, cut crosswise on the bias into 1/2" thick slices
1/2 head broccoli, cut in florets
1/2 small green or red bell pepper, sliced
4 asparagus spears, cut into 1" long pieces
2 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed and sliced
sprinkle of dry mustard powder

Coat bottom of wok with vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat until drop of water dripped in center sizzles. Have all vegetables ready so that once they are added to the pan, you can stir them continuously. When oil is ready, add carrots and broccoli. Stir fry about two minutes to give these sturdier vegetables a heat start on cooking, then add the more tender selections, along with the garlic, and stir continuously until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with mustard powder. Because I was serving this with the beef above, I used about 1 tablespoon of the beef cooking liquid/sauce to deglaze the wok, and give the vegetables excellent flavor before serving.

Cruciferous Salad
serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
1 head broccoli, cut in florets
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for roasting
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 - 1 teaspoon hot chile garlic sauce
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400.
Toss florets in enough olive oil to coat and spread in shallow baking dish. Roast about 30 minutes until tips are golden, stirring once part-way through cooking.
Meanwhile, toss together raisins, seeds, and cilantro, and mix dressing ingredients. Toss roasted vegetables with remaining ingredients and dressing and serve warm.

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