Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Beef and Kimchi Stir-fry


This Cook's Illustrated recipe (sub required) was a bit of a FAIL, but not because the recipe was poor, but because my local Shaw's didn't have flank steak (or hangar or skirt)... and I couldn't figure out a suitable substitute on the fly (even with the smart phone). So after staring at the meat section for 10 minutes, hoping flank steak would magically materialize, I just picked up two precut "stir-fry" meat packs, since I figured that'd likely be a similar cut of meat. While that's probably true... precut meat has one large deficiency: they're cut way too thick, as you can see from the picture up top. That's like 1/2" thick or more, and what I really want is an 1/8" to get the meat nice and tender. I thought about trying to slice the precut meat down, but decided just to take my chances and... entirely predictably... the meat came out way tough. Oh well. I'm still not entirely sure what I should have bought instead, since I only wanted 12 ounces of meat... and it's not like a I want to be wasting a New York Strip in a stir-fry. But... otherwise, the recipe was easy and worked out well... I was a little concerned that my 5 month old kimchi might be too potent, but I found the flavors to be well balanced... which might mean I'd find jarred kimchi disappointing here, but it's hard to say.
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar plus an additional 1 teaspoon
  • 12 ounces flank steak , cut into 2-inch wide strips with grain, then sliced across grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup kimchi (from 16-ounce jar), chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces bean sprouts , mung (about 2 cups)
  • 5 scallions , cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, white and light green pieces quartered lengthwise
  1. Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sugar in medium bowl. Add beef, toss well, and marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring once. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining tablespoon sugar, chicken broth, sesame oil, and cornstarch in medium bowl. Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon oil in small bowl.
  2. Drain beef and discard liquid. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of beef to skillet in single layer, breaking up any clumps. Cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and continue to cook until beef is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer beef to clean bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet and repeat with remaining beef. Rinse skillet clean and dry with paper towels.
  3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and heat until just smoking. Add kimchi and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes. Add bean sprouts and stir to combine. Push vegetables to sides of skillet to clear center; add garlic-ginger mixture to clearing and cook, mashing with spatula, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir to combine garlic-ginger mixture with vegetables. Return beef, any accumulated juices, and scallions to skillet and stir to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to serving platter and serve.