Beef salad / Asian-style / Thai-beef-salad / Thai-cooking / Salad-recipe
The concept of the "Balance of Three" was applied in the cooking of this decicious dish.
--Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit--
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Beef salad Pradichaya Style
If you would like to break out of winter's blues, try this recipe for delicious beef salad with Pradichaya's own dressing. Cooking this dish calls for a little bit of Thai, some Chinese, but most definitely an Asian flare and the Thai concept of the balance of three.
The first thing that needed to be done was to marinate the beef. I may be very organized and plan ahead when it comes to work, but when it comes to food I act spontaneously and more according to my mood and food situation! I understand that some recipes may want you to marinate your beef for an hour or two - or more, for a larger meal. But my beef flank will marinate however long it takes me to prepare everything else.
I looked around my kitchen for ingredients and grabbed a handful of cilantro roots. (How predictable, right?) I soaked them in water and gave them a really good scrub. Then, I took half a bulb of garlic, rinsed them in water and pounded them in my famous mortar and pestle. The skin came off very easily and all I had to do was to get rid of them. Then, I put in cilantro roots and added one teaspoon of black pepper and grinded all three ingredients until they blended well and sent out a wonderful aroma!
On looking for my next ingredient I came across a pack of sea salt - the kind that came with frozen pretzels (I'm not kidding you, this is why I am not a real chef - I act so much on impulse!) All kidding aside, put in about two teaspoons of salt, alright! I poured the whole packet of (pretzel) salt in the mortar (which was about two teaspoons). And, because I am all about the "balance" of things -not yang and yin, but more like a triad, three- sided, three-corner kind of balance, I added one tablespoon of sugar. Naturally, I pounded everything until all was mixed well together.
None of these would do a good job at tenderizing the lean beef flank. I grabbed my not-a-secret-anymore weapon - the apple cider vinegar- and poured about half a cup into the mix.
I tasted it and felt that it wasn't quite right. I looked around some more, and, ding!!!! I've had an idea!!!
My Thai-made Chinese ingredients were smiling to me!! I reached for the yellow bottle of "Thin Soy Sauce" (See-ew kao) and green bottle of "Sweet" or Black Soy Sauce (See-ew dumm). This would not be about the salty or the sweet taste of each soy sauce (sea salt and sugar already took care of that department), but it would be all about the almost heavenly aroma that would make this dish so divine once the two sauces mixed and reacted with the apple cider vinegar. Ah...there go my not-a-secret-anymore ingredients!!! I added two tablespoons of sweet soy sauce and three tablespoons of thin soy sauce.
Here comes the fun part: I put all the beef flank pieces in a large bowl and poured in my marinade. I used my hand to make sure that the sauce made its way inside each piece of beef. I kneaded and kneaded and kneaded.
This is when other recipes will say, "let it sit for two hours". If you have the time, you may want to do that just to make sure that the power of soy sauces and apple cider vinegar will really soften your beef. I didn't have the time, and I was very confident that the marinade would do the work just fine under these circumstances. I moved on to prepare other ingredients.
The pan heated and I laid the beef in one by one. I could fry only six slices of beef at a time. With an inch of thickness on each slice, it would take about five minutes on each side, so I set the timer in case I got side-tracked. Please do not cover: it would turn your beef flank into "chicken-color look-alike" flank. It will sizzle and it will splash, so if you'd rather not get tiny burn spots on your hands and arms you can add a little butter or margarine to stop the splashing.
When the pan was hot to the point that the beef started to blacken, it was time to turn down the heat. But please don't forget to bring the heat back up when you start your second batch.
When you finish slicing the beef, rest it on a plate or in a bowl: do not put it on the salad yet.
I drizzled some dressing sauce in the salad and added the beef, drizzled in some more dressing and put the rest of it in a bowl. By now the rice was cooked. I served the beef salad with rice and drizzled more sauce on top. Some of my kids used the dressing as dipping sauce. The meal was delicious and very satisfying. We sat around our kitchen table looking out on the fifteen-inch snow-covered backyard and reflected, "Life is good".
Warm regards, and, make every cooking day a Chef-Me-NOT!!! day!
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