An introduction to these Beef Chronicles
When it comes to Asian cuisine, I'm the first to admit I'm a terrible hack.
I don't know when to use sriracha or shichimi and mix up udon and soba half the time. My versions of classics such as Pad Thai or Sweet & Sour Soup are butchered because I tend to toss in whatever is wilting in the fridge instead of following a recipe.
Sure I've been to Thailand and Indonesia, but that doesn't account for much--certainly didn't instill an instinctive Asian touch to my cooking. On the contrary, it fostered such a fondness for coconut milk and lemongrass, that many a promising Chinese or Japanese dish has been ruined by the addition of a can of coconut milk. Obviously I need help.
I either need to get my hands on a really good, all-inclusive Asian cookbook or take some classes. Marrying into an Asian family is no longer an option, unfortunately. Maybe I should have considered those marriage proposals a little more seriously back in my wild and free backpacking days.
With that disclaimer, I can now bring you today's new recipe in the Beef Chronicles: Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps.
I'm not sure if they are Korean or Vietnamese, but I do know that they were baaaad--in the good sense of the word, of course.
Here's why we can't get enough of them:
Self. Assembly. I just don't have time these days to roll sushi or spring rolls. Ingredients go in the middle of the table and everyone helps themselves.
Fresh, Fresh, very Fresh. Simply LOVE lettuce as a wrapper for these crunchy bites. As much as I'm fond of bread and its many forms, it gets a little boring--not to mention fattening--as the means of transporting toppings & fillings. Pizza, souvlaki, panini, hamburgers, calzone, fajitas, wraps, quesedillas--all those relatively quick, family style food have bread as a base. Heavy.
Easy Peasy. Marinade the beef in the afternoon and stir together dipping sauce. 20 minutes before dinner, start rice. Shred some carrot, grill the beef, grab a head of lettuce and dinner is served.
Grilled. I liked that the rolls offered the ease of outdoor cooking--particularly helpful these days because I'm trying to keep my kitchen extra clean--but they don't scream BBQ, because by now, BBQ is getting a little old, you know?
Have I mentioned Fast? Fast to prep, fast to grill, fast to serve. Leaves plenty of time to relax around the table and prepare each wrap lovingly by hand.
Hmmm, I guess they are more like 'folds' instead of 'wraps'. As you can see from the photo, I didn't really wrap them. They're actually more like tacos. Asian tacos? You see how confused I am?
By the way, we're really, really enjoying our beef, a locally purchased Angus calf, for those of you who are new (and there's plenty more beef recipes at the bottom of the post).
Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
1 head Boston lettuce
3 cups cooked rice
bunch of green onions
250 g minute steak or flank steak
Dipping Sauce (of choice or recipe below)
2 small garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
fresh ground pepper
Peel and chop garlic cloves. Sprinkle with sugar and using the side of your knife blade, crush the garlic to make a paste with the sugar. Place in a bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Coat steaks with marinade and refrigerate for 1-3 hours.
Peel and finely chiffonade or grate carrots. Wash and pat dry the green onions and chiffonade the green stalks; reserve the bulbs for another use. Toss green onion and carrot together and reserve until ready to serve.
Pull apart leaves of Boston lettuce and place in a bowl.
Preheat BBQ. Remove beef from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly oil with vegetable oil. Grill quickly to desired temperature. Time will vary depending on the cut of steak. Remove from grill and allow to rest a few minutes.
Place rice, lettuce, and carrot on the table. Slice beef into thin strips and serve with dipping sauce of your choice or the recipe below.
Each person assembles their own wrap.
Korean Barbecue Dipping Sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon minced green onion
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon water
On a cutting board, use the side of the blade of your knife to crush the garlic and the sugar together, forming a paste. Transfer paste to a small bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Mix together well an reserve until ready to use.
More Beef Chronicles:
In Which we Buy A Cow
Rib Steak With Red-Wine Butter
Rosemary-Garlic Marinated T-Bone
Beef Tacos with Salsa Cruda
Classic Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Purée
Steak au Poivre & Sweet Potato Fries
Ossobuco in Bianco
Chocolate Chip Chili