Satays stir my memories of street foods that fill the sights and the air as you walk down the narrow alleys in cities throughout Southeast Asia. The smell of caramelized slices of meat on sticks with hints of faraway spices are unrivaled, even if meat is not your thing. It gets even better when you can replicate these delights from your travel with a ginger beef satay in your own kitchen.
This is a Curtis Stone’s recipe from Good Food, Good Life celebrating dishes that bring deliciousness and happiness to the family dinner table. This is an essential Asian dish, the challenge this week at IHCC. But the ingredients are fairly generic these days. No special shopping is necessary. You do need some cilantro, soy sauce, jalapeño, fresh ginger, garlic, brown sugar and sesame oil to make the marinade for the beef. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. The marinade, especially the ginger, is critical in bringing the unmistaken Asian taste and the depth of flavor to the satay.
Ginger is a natural tenderizer for meat and chicken. I chose top round, instead of top sirloin steak that the recipe calls for. Even with a lesser cut, the beef satay is as tender as can be. The ginger does the magic trick!
I asked the butcher to slice the meat as thinly as possible against the grain. That makes all the difference. The satays can be marinated for up to 1 day in the refrigerator. This is a convenient summer dish on the grill at a moment notice, as long as you prepare the marinade ahead of time.
Instead of firing up the outdoor barbecue grill, I used a cast iron grill pan on a gas stovetop. It takes me less time to get the pan to high heat on the gas stove than for the outdoor grill to reach grilling temperature. I can easily cook slices of satay on demand, a few pieces at a time, the way a street vendor fills an order. Thin slices of beef satay take minutes to cook on a hot grill. Be prepared to stand by the fire if you don’t want the satays to get burned. Going from caramelized to burned takes seconds. Grilling satays requires full attention.
I simplified the vegetable part of the dish, to keep the beef satay the key attraction. I got some baby bok choy. Steamed them until tender. Placed them on the grill to finish with some grill marks on them. This may not be a complete meal. Think street food. The street fare of grilled beef makes for a carefree summer delight around the dinner table. The ease and comfort of home, all without having to stand on the streets to eat it.
Ginger Beef Satay with Charred Asian VegetablesPrint Recipe
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed from stems, stems and leaves reserved
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound top sirloin steak, very thinly sliced against the grain
- 1 head bok choy (about 12 ounces), coarsely chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 head napa cabbage (about 9 ounces), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 ounces snow peas, stringed
- 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt
- soy sauce, for drizzling
To prepare the satays, in a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro stems, soy sauce, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, and pepper and blend until pureed. With the machine running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, blending well.
Using the spiked surface of a meat mallet, gently pound both sides of the slices of beef to tenderize them. Place the beef slices in a large baking dish and coat with the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Prepare a grill for high heat. Place a grill tray on the grill rack.
Thread the beef slices onto the skewers so that they lie flat. Set aside.
To grill the vegetables, in a large bowl, tossed the bok choy, cabbage, snow peas, and onion with the oil to coat. Season with salt. Transfer the vegetables to the hot grill tray and cook, tossing occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until they are slightly charred but still crisp-tender. Transfer the grill tray to a large baking sheet and set aside.
To grill the satays, lightly coat the meat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Grill for about 2 minutes per side, or until lightly charred on the outside but still medium-rare in the center.
Divide the vegetables among four plates and drizzle with the soy sauce. Top with satays, sprinkle with cilantro leaves, and serve.
Adapted from Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone