Monday, March 24, 2008

Spicy (but not too spicy) Korean beef and a DMBLGIT reminder

I have a wide range of cookbooks that serve different purposes. Some are around as coffee table books(for that day when I actually have a coffee table) that I bought mainly for the photography and format. Others are reference cookbooks that can be relied upon for simple instructions for basic recipes and formulas. Others are around to inject a little adventurous eating, among which are several authentic Chinese cookbooks. Others are reliable go-tos for quick but satisfying and imaginative dishes. A little unassuming cookbook that was given to me as a gift years ago is one of the latter. It has the very unexciting title of "On Rice" but it would be better described as "quick, clever, often one-pot, flavorful, diverse dinners that happen to include rice" (except that wouldn’t really be a catchy title, would it?).

There are many recipes in it that have proven both delicious and reliable. There’s a sushi rice bowl that’s full of different flavors and textures and is quick and inexpensive to whip up. There’s a chicken and asparagus with mustard-tarragon sauce that looks divine. One of my very favorites is a spicy Korean beef served over cabbage (and the requisite bed of rice). This recipe doesn’t even need the rice. It’s a hearty winter dish that’s full of flavor and most definitely a crowd pleaser. The beef marinates for an hour or more and picks up the very satisfying flavors of soy, scallion, garlic, hot pepper flakes, sesame oil and ginger. It broils in a few minutes and is sliced thinly over cabbage that is sautéed and combined with shaved carrots, a pinch of hot pepper and rice vinegar. It tastes impressive, but it’s truly simple and quick and requires a minimum amount of fresh grocery items and pots to clean. If you are like me and don't usually cook red meat because you aren't normally up for a heavy or complicated meat dish, this recipe is for you.

A little unrelated reminder: if you are planning to submit a photo to DMBLGIT this month, tomorrow’s the deadline!

P.S. The lead photo from my recent post "Red curry with tofu" was featured on TasteSpotting's weekly roundup of most popular posts to their site! (see top row, fourth photo from left). Yet another reason I love that site!

Korean beef on fiery Chinese cabbage (adapted from On Rice: 60 Fast and Easy Toppings That Make the Meal by Rick Rodgers)
(serves 4)

Steamed (preferably long-grain) rice

Korean marinade

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
¼ cup soy sauce
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar,
1 tablespoon Asian dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 ½ pounds sirloin steak, trimmed, about ¾ inch thick

Spicy Chinese cabbage

1 medium (1 ½ pounds) Chinese (napa) cabbage
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup homemade chicken broth or low-sodium canned broth
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground hot pepper
2 medium carrots, shredded
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

To make marinade, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a mortar or on the work surface using a heavy skillet, coarsely crust the sesame seeds. Please in a large shallow dish.

Add the remaining marinade ingredients and stir well to combine. Add the steak and rub some of the marinade ingredients over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for as long as possible, at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

To make the spicy cabbage, core and cut crosswise into ½ inch strips. Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil, tilt the skillet to coat the bottom and heat until the oil is very hot. Add the scallions ginger and garlic and stir-fry until very fragrant, abut 30 seconds. Add the cabbage, chicken broth, carrots, salt and hot pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring often until the cabbage stalks are translucent and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

Position a broiler rack 6 inches from the source of heat and preheat the broiler. Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Broil the meat, turning once, until cooked to desired doneness, about 7 minutes from medium rare.

Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.

If necessary, reheat the cabbage. Cut the meat diagonally across the grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Spoon the rice into soup bowls. Top with the cabbage and then the sliced meat. Pour some of the marinade over each serving of meat and serve immediately.


Anonymous said...

This looks really terrific, Sabra. I think I'll look into the book as well - anything quick and simple :-)

Anonymous said...

Yum, I have not eaten dinner and that looks so very good. I look forward to trying it soon.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

congratulations! that's fantastic! and the beef looks great!

Anonymous said...

Making this one tonite!

Anonymous said...

Yum - Can't wait to make this very versatile dish! The boys will love it. -Lisa S.

Anonymous said...

This looks enticing. I'm eager to try the technique in a slightly less piquant version.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this looks delicious.

Piggy said...

The beef looks soooo good! Great pictures as usual. :-)

Anonymous said...


my coffee table = thomas keller's french laundry cookbook

regular rotation = sunday supper at lucques

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

I'd been looking for a new, spicy dinner for tonight, and I wasn't disappointed.

I used an inch-thick dry aged sirloin, and marinaded it for about 10 hours.

I did add an extra thai red chilli to the cabbage, and added the carrots a little before the cabbage was cooked to soften them.

This is delicious!

Anonymous said...

Just introduced Andrea Z, our 24 yr. old g.daughter, to your blog. She's an avid and excellent cook. She loves it. I bet you'll see her own comments soon. She really liked the cucumber soup, one of my favorites. Sudy

Sabra said...

Wow - so happy about your enthusiasm. Clare: I like your modification, in fact, I've edited the recipe to reflect the carrot change - I agree with you!
Michelle - I'll have to check out that second book . . .
Thanks Piggy, Aran!
Lisa, Mary - let me know how it goes!
Nice to hear from you Nikkipolani, CFIB, Amy!

Anonymous said...

Both of these photographs are perfection!

Indonesia Eats said...

for korean marinated beef, I love to add gochujang, Korean red pepper paste.. Your picture is so gorgeous

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Yum, that is making my mouth water!

Sabra said...

Thanks Martha and Simply Gluten Free. Indonesia-Eats: that's an interesting idea. I'm sure that would be a good replacement for the pepper flakes. I'll have to check that out!

Rasa Malaysia said...

Just found your blog...great photography I love it. I just submitted my entry to DMGLGIT. :)

Annemarie said...

Oh, I forgot to submit for DMBLGIT *again*. The beef looks utterly scrumptious - cooked perfectly and the combo of flavors hits my hungry spot.

Anonymous said...

We made this last night and it was absolutely delicious! One of our guests was a vegetarian and so we made a second batch of marinade and marinated the tofu in it for the same amount of time as the meat and it turned out great too!

Anonymous said...

I'm Haley, Key Ingredient's Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this recipe and photo on our blog. We realize it is taken from another source, but we'll be sure to note that...we just feel you've done a great job putting this meal together! Please email if interested. Thanks :)


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