Sunday, August 12, 2012

Asian Steak Roll Ups

I love Asian cuisine. I love the flavors of soy, lime, teriyaki, honey, and sesame--combinations of these flavors are some of my favorites.

I have unfortunately found that Asian foods tend to be some of the most difficult to pull together in my own kitchen. It is difficult to find sesame oil, hoisin sauce, or miso paste in the average person's pantry. However, this should not discourage us!

A few nights ago, I pulled together an Asian-inspired steak dish that had bold flavors and textures for the whole pallet. Even my recipe guinea pig boyfriend enjoyed the strong essences of soy and honey. This will definitely be a dish I will be making variations of over and over again!

Now, I didn't run to the specialty store and pick up a myriad of Asian marinades, sauces, or seasonings. In fact, the main flavor agents here are pantry staples, namely low sodium soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.Still think you can't bring the flavors of Asia into your own kitchen? Think again!


 Here's what you need for my Asian Steak Roll Ups:

3/4 pound of thinly sliced steak (I found a sandwich steak at Stop and Shop)
6 to 8 baby carrots
2 celery stalks
1 red bell pepper
2 scallions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
7 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
Cracked black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted until just browned in a dry pan.

Here's what you do:

If your meat is not already sliced, pop in the freezer for 20 minutes (until somewhat firm). Then, thinly slice the meat into 6 or so sandwich sized squares.
Place each meat slice between two pieces of plastic wrap and bang with a meat mallet until about 1/8 inch thick. (This is an AMAZING way to take out your frustrations...I highly suggest it) Season each piece generously with cracked black pepper. I totally prefer the cracked peppercorns here because it is ramping up the flavors even more and will give the steaks a nice spicy undertone.

Marinade the steak for at least 15 minutes or up to two hours in 3 tablespoons each of vegetable oil and soy sauce.
While the steak marinades, thinly slice your red bell peppers, celery, and carrots. I liked to slice these long ways so that they were thin sticks about the width of the steak.

Chop up the white and light green portions of your scallions.
In a large frying pan, heat up about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Fry your garlic for 30 seconds then add in your chopped carrots, celery, and pepper. Toss and coat in the oil. Saute the veggies for 5 minutes or until just tender. Add a bit of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and lime juice and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat to cool. Note: feel free to adjust the amount of liquids used here. You do not want your veggies to get soggy and loose their crunch.
In a small saucepan, stir together 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce with the honey and brown sugar until the sugar is disolved. Add a bit of cracked black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer until a glaze starts to form. Cover and remove from heat.
Lay out your steaks on a piece of wax paper or a clean cutting board. Place 10-15 strips of the sauteed veggies and scallions on the bottom quarter of the steak. Gently but firmly roll the steak and secure with a toothpick.

In the same pan that you cooked your vegetables, add a bit more vegetable oil and the butter. Melt over medium heat. When the butter is completely dissolved, add in your steak rolls and sear on all sides. Cover for another 2 minutes or until the steak is cooked through.
Transfer to a plate and drizzle with the soy-honey glaze. Top with a generous amount of the toasted sesame seeds and enjoy!

Although this may appear to be a complex recipe, it is a fun and easy way to bring Asian flavors into your kitchen. The flavors all blend together really well. I'd recommend serving it alongside brown rice (toss any extra veggies that didn't get into a roll in with your side dish).

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