Believe me when I say that I nearly cleaned out the entire Asian food section of Whole Foods. From stocking up on oyster and fish sauces to flat udon noodles to minced beef, my recent South East Asian holiday has inspired a slew of dishes focused on megaphone flavor and heaps of vegetables. Tonight I hosted a monthly rotating dinner party, where a few of my closest friends and I chow down, dissect movies from the 90s and talk about our goings-on. Since seeing one another has become the equivalent of booking a table at Nobu, we’ve dedicated one Saturday a month where we unwind, unload and explore new cultures and continents through the dishes that we create and serve. In the past few months I’ve been to Sicily, Thailand and Brazil — all from the comfort of a friend’s kitchen. And while I can’t wait for next month’s Indian feast, I’m itching to share recipes from this month’s soiree.
In three short hours I fixed a beef chili stir-fry, drunken noodles with chicken, tofu stir-fry, kale salad, coconut-infused jasmine rice and a pile of fresh fruit. However, I want to first focus on one of tonight’s BIG HITS: the stir-fried beef. Funny how the simplest of dishes are the ones which have the most impact.
You can serve this beef solo, or pair it with a small bowl of jasmine rice — it’s that simple and that DELICIOUS.
And OBVIOUSLY you know how I feel about kale.
For the stir-fry:
1 lb flank steak, cut lengthwise into strips
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp dried red Thai chilies (chili flakes are a fine alternative)
1 tbsp grape seed or safflower oil
1-2 cups of tat soi (spinach or basil are fine substitutes)
For the kale salad:
4-6 cups of mixed kale leaves (red, green, purple)
1 cup of tat soi (spinach or basil are fine substitutes)
1 cup of mixed nuts (1/3 pistachios, 1/3 slivered blanched almonds and 1/3 cashews), toasted
1/2 cup dried cherries
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mix the soy sauce and chili and marinate the beef for 1/2 hour.
Heat the oil in a wok, or a large sauté pan, over high heat until it is nearly smoking. As the oil is heating up, toss in the garlic and then pat the beef dry and separate it into small batches no larger than what can fit into the palm of your hand. Working in batches, sauté beef until it is charred and cooked through (4-5 minutes). However, if you prefer your meat rare (cook for 1 minute) or medium (cook for 2-3 minutes). Personally, I prefer well-done beef the equivalent to shoe leather.
Toss the tat soi (or spinach) in until the leaves are wilted.
The dish can be served piping hot or at room temperature. I paired this with the kale salad, which was a cinch to fix. The only cooking involved is heating up the nuts on a dry pan — the rest is pure flavor magic. You’ll love the flavor and texture plays of the sweet cherries, raw kale and crunchy nuts.