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Jazz up your beef!!

Jazz up your beef with simple Thai recipe from Chef-Me-Not!!
by Pradichaya Poonyarit who is clearly not a chef, but a person who speaks food.

"I pictured the menu in my head: Pan-fried steak, sticky rice, and tangy tomato dipping sauce."


I was told by my American parent that when I'm running behind the simplest thing to make is steak. I agree, but the idea of steak, vegetables, and a carb item (bread or rice or pasta) does not often excite me.

Nevertheless, last night I searched though our bottomless garage freezer and found the only beef we had was two pieces -totalling 3 pounds- of chuck steak. I wasn't about to run out to get rib eye, Delmonico, or NY strip or the like. My plan for tonight was not about plating a whole steak per serving -too much meat intake anyway- so I didn't have to be particular about my beef so long as I slice it evenly throughout. Chuck steak it would be for tonight, then!

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Pan-fried steak | Sticky rice | Tangy tomato dipping sauce

I pictured the menu in my head: Pan-fried steak, sticky rice, and tangy tomato dipping sauce.


chuck steak | sticky rice-aka glutinous rice | romaine lettuce | tomatoes | cilantro leaves | small red onions or shallots | lime juice | nampla | sugar and sweetener | cayenne pepper or ground roasted Thai chili | sea salt | Olivio margerine

I took my time thawing the steak. While waiting, I poured about 4 cups of sticky rice -aka glutinous rice, and found in most Oriental grocers- in the microwave rice cooker and added cold tap water until it was about 2" above the rice, and let it soak. If you don't have a microwave rice cooker, put sticky rice and the water in a pot instead. -We'll cook that on top of the stove.

I soaked a bunch of romaine lettuce leaves in a large bowl and then took 3 large ripe tomatoes (or 4 mid-size ones) and soaked them also.

I cut, but you may also break, the lettuce and put it aside for the salad. I cubed the tomatoes and put them in a bowl for the sauce.

I cut half a fist of cilantro leaves and soaked them. They come with a lot of sand, so obviously they have to be soaked and rinsed very carefully and thoroughly. Later, I chopped them and put them in the same bowl as the tomato cubes.

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I turned my attention to 8 small red onions, or shallots. When I said small, I mean pearl onion size. I peeled, rinsed, and sliced them as thinly, as finely as I could, making sure that they would be sliced in relatively evenly. Guess what? I put the sliced onions into the same bowl for the sauce.

For the actual sauce, we need about a cup of lime juice, nampla - start with half the amount of lime, so in this case 1/2 cup- and sugar- start with 1/3 the amount of lime. For people who are sugar-consicous, use 2 packets of Stevia or Truvia, and add 1 heaping teaspoon of real sugar. Do not use sweetenter alone, unless you medically and absolutely must, or it will alter the flavor!!!! Mix the three ingredients. The taste should be in the order of sour, salty, and then sweet. Let the lime lead the parade. For folks who love spicy taste, use cayenne pepper, or if you have an access to ground roasted Thai chili, go for that! The amount is up to you. Again, start small. Try out the flavor by dipping a piece of lettuce in it and see if it makes you salivate when inside your mouth! Remember, tangy, salty then sweet. Do not overdo the nampla or sugar! When it's perfect for you, pour the sauce on top of the tomatoes-shallots-cilantros in the prepared bowl.

Note: For the flavor of northeastern Thai (Isarn or Thai-Laotians), roast 1/3 cup of raw sticky rice or normal jasmine rice in a pan on medium heat. Let it cool, then grind it in the coffee grinder. Mix it in with the sauce, and make sure you spice it up with ground chili pepper. Now that's hot, and not to mention what wonderful aroma roasted rice has added to the sauce!

It's time to cook the sticky rice.

With the microwave rice cooker, cook it on 80% power for 18 minutes. If it turns out wet with a lot of water, continue cooking on high for 4 more minutes.

Stove-top: Cook it just like normal rice, uncovered on high heat until it boils. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and cover -check after three minutes, or you will have burned sticky rice (that actually tastes really good, but you'll have to scrub the bottom of the pot afterwards!).

Now we play with our two pieces of steak. On a clean and dry cutting board, place the steaks and dab them dry on both sides with paper towels. Rub on both sides with sea salt. I poured the salt into my palm then rubbed in order to prevent my steaks from the accident of over-pouring the salt.

My steaks were almost 3" thick each. I divided each steak into 4 sections across the width -not the length- and separated the sections with my good and sharp knife.

Take out a large skillet. I've become "un-Thai" just a little, here, by putting 2 tablespoons of Oilivio margarine in the skillet when I put it on medium-high heat. This way, it would not jump up to my hands and arms and I won't get burned by the sizzling of the steaks. Besides, it enhances the flavor of the already wonderful steaks....Ummmm....yummmmm.

Did you put in your steaks?

Cook about 6 minutes on each side, but keep a close watch after you flip. I like my steaks medium-rare. Keep in mind, too, that they continue to cook even after the heat has been turned off.

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The next step is a race with time.

I prepare a dry, clean cutting board with a large steak knife, and even before the second six-minutes is up, I take out the smallest piece of steak and quickly slice it into even and thin, bite-size slices. -Make sure that you ALWAYS cut against the grain, and slightly slant your knife. Do not cut at a perfect 90 degree angle. Pay attention to this part, and your reward will be juicy and tender beef in your mouth......ummmmm....yumm -without having to pay for super special grass-fed steak.

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If you fall behide in your slicing performance, bring the heat way... down. Take the next smallest piece and slice away. You are racing against time because sliced beef cools down rather quickly, especially in cooler climates.

I like to dress the bed of lettuce with the juice from my steaks, so I put the sliced steak on top of it.

Don't forget your sticky rice. Now, you can call the family -if they haven't already followed the aroma into the kitchen.

Plate the sliced steak, lettuce, sticky rice and tangy tomato sauce next to each other. Sprinkle a little of the tangy sauce on the sliced steak and the lettuce. To eat, dip the sticky rice in the tangy tomato sauce, put it in your mouth and immediately follow with a slice of beef. I guess I don't have to tell you how it should go after the initial bite. I'm salivating all over again....and will take an early lunch today!

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit

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Tagline: steak-differently, beef, Thai recipe, chef-me-not, food
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Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit - La CoffeeMelodie Suite

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit:

A Thai soprano from head to toe with an attitude of a no-nonsense entrepreneur with innovative ideas and, sometimes, shocking approaches, who fits the phrase "been there, done that" perfectly, and is looking forward to new challenges. A leader, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and, a chef-ME-NOT. All makes a person who turns every situation into a learning experience, and, is super charged with positive energy.

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