Friday, July 27, 2012

Asian Flank Steak in Lettuce Boats (with Sweet & Spicy Chile Sauce)

This is one of Sean's favorite dishes for his mom to make- I first had it at her house, and I remember several times later when she made it again per Sean's special request.  Not that I was complaining, because this Asian-style steak is sooo good.  It's probably the first time I ever had flank steak too, which I instantly fell in love with (though it's unfortunately a little pricey).  Anyway, I've never tried to make this before because I really can't compare with Joy's cooking, but when Sean recently requested it I couldn't resist.  We came up with our own marinade for the steak and created a sweet & spicy carrot-chile sauce to go on top.  The drippings and bits of garlic left in the pan after cooking the steak were mixed with rice and chopped kimchi for a tasty side dish.  I'm pretty sure our friends that came over for dinner were glad they came :)
2 lbs flank steak
1/2 small white onion, finely diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Thai chiles, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
freshly cracked pepper
2 heads of romaine lettuce, largest leaves torn off and washed 
more vegetable oil for cooking steak
For the carrot-chile sauce:
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
5 minced Thai chiles (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
2 carrots, shredded

Prepare the marinade for the steak.  Do this in the morning so it can marinate for at least 6 hours.  Combine all ingredients in the first list (except the lettuce) in a bowl and stir to mix well.   
In a large zip lock, combine the marinade with the steak.  Press out the air and seal the bag.  Distribute the marinade so it is evenly covering the meat.  Place in the fridge and rotate every hour or so.  Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.  When you are ready to cook the steak, heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat.  We had to cut our flank steak into two separate pieces because it wouldn't fit in the pan whole.  Pour about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the pan once it is hot, and place the steak down.  If it ever starts smelling like burning, turn the heat to medium.  
Cook for about 4-5 minutes and flip.  Cook for 4 minutes longer.  We adjusted our cooking time based on how the steak felt to see if it was done enough.  We prefer the meat medium-rare, and with the thicker steak we had to throw it in the oven for a few more minutes just to take it up from rare.  Check your steak as you cook it because the time will vary depending on how hot your pan is and how thick the steak is etc.  Both sides should be caramelized and browned- but not burnt.  Every once in a while I did have to scrape up the onion or garlic bits that were sticking to the bottom to make sure they didn't burn either.   
If you want to make the kimchi-rice when you are done with the steak, add 1 cup or more of chopped kimchi to the pan when the steak has been removed to set before slicing.  Scrape up all the bits from the pan, and pour the mixture into two cups of cooked rice.  Stir and add salt/pepper as needed.
Let the steak rest for at least 7-10 minutes before slicing.  Tent it with foil so it doesn't lose it's heat.  Slice against the grain in long thin slices.

To make the chile sauce (this can be done in advance) place all ingredients except corn starch into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Turn heat down to medium.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until it has reduced by half.  Reduce heat to low and add the corn starch mixture.  Stir and let the sauce thicken.  When it has come to your desired consistency, remove from heat.  Taste to see if you prefer it to be more sweet, spicy, or acidic, and adjust as necessary by adding more sugar, vinegar, or chiles.  Remember you will be adding the carrots which will mellow out the flavor a bit.
Add the carrots to the thickened sauce and leave at room temperature or chill until ready to serve with the steak. 

To serve, place several strips of steak onto a lettuce "boat" (large cupped lettuce leaf).  Spoon some of the chile sauce on top, and enjoy this tasty meal!

We had leftovers the next day (above) and it was still delicious.

1 comment:

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