Grilled Tri-Tip with Jew Som Dipping Sauce

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This Southeast Asian-meets-Southwest American grilled steak is the perfect dish to ring in warmer weather. Adapted from Food & Wine, you can serve this with some rice and lettuce leaves alongside a pungent salty-spicy dipping sauce and it’s *chef’s kiss.* Marinating the steak is a bit of work but the results are worth it.

Ingredients:

For the dipping sauce:

  • 4 cilantro sprigs
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 2 Thai or serrano chiles
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

For the tri-tip:

  • 2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) lager or IPA-style beer, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) tri-tip steaks
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped lemongrass (from 2 stalks)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for grilling
  • Cooked jasmine rice or sticky rice, and lettuce leaves, for serving 
  1. Make the dipping sauce: Cut cilantro stems into 2-inch lengths. Combine cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, and chiles in a blender, and process on medium speed until finely chopped, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar to blender, and process until combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in cilantro leaves and green onion slices.
  2. Make the tri-tip: Stir together 1 1/2 cups beer and salt in a gallon-size ziplock plastic bag until dissolved. Add steaks to bag, seal, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning bag and massaging steaks occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, lemongrass, and garlic in a blender, and process until finely minced, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add oyster sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pepper, and remaining 3/4 cup beer, and process on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove steaks from refrigerator. Drain and discard beer mixture, and pour cilantro marinade over steaks in bag, massaging gently to coat steaks. Seal bag, and return steaks to refrigerator. Let marinate, turning bag and massaging steaks occasionally, at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
  4. Prepare a grill over medium-high heat. Remove steaks from plastic bag, and discard marinade. Grill steaks over direct heat, uncovered, flipping often, until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer steaks to indirect heat. Cover and cook, flipping steaks occasionally, until steak is cooked to medium, about 35 minutes. Transfer steaks to a platter and let rest about 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain, and serve on rice or with lettuce leaves as wraps, alongside jeow som dipping sauce.

Creamy Tahini and Harissa Beef

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Think of this easy one-dish meal as a deconstructed pita sandwich, except crunchier, saucier, and more delicious. Adapted from Bon Appetit, it’s not an authentic recipe by any means but the combination of creamy tahini and spicy harissa will earn a spot in your regular dinner rotation.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup harissa
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 8-ounce bag pita chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, or mint)
  1. Whisk tahini, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup room temperature water in a small bowl until smooth; set tahini sauce aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Cook red onion, white parts of green onions, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden brown in spots, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add harissa, remaining 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until harissa is slightly darkened and oil beads on surface, about 5 minutes. Add beef and 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring often to break up meat, until water is mostly evaporated and beef is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in green parts of green onion.
  4. Spread half of reserved tahini sauce on a platter; spoon beef mixture over. Top with a handful of pita chips and remaining tahini sauce, then herbs. Gently mix to barely combine. Serve with more pita chips for scooping or dipping.

Weeknight Turkey Curry

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I can’t really categorize this dish: it’s a little bit South Asian, a little bit East Asian, a little bit American. It’s comfort food, though, and an easy one at that. Make this when you’re trying to clear out your pantry, serve over rice, and you’re golden.

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Madras curry poweder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 ounces Japanese curry sauce mix (such as House Foods Vermont Curry or S&B Golden Curry)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cooked rice and kimchi, for serving
  1. Pulse onion, carrots, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add turkey, salt, and season with pepper. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter, then sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in soy sauce and fish sauce. Pour in broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in curry sauce mix and simmer, stirring often, until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and remove from heat.
  5. Serve curry on top of rice in serving bowls and with kimchi on the side.

Spiced Beef Puffs

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I’d never had sujuk, or Palestinian-style spiced beef puffs, until I adapted this recipe from my Baladi cookbook. They reminded me of southern Iranian sambuseh, which, as the name suggests, taste a lot like Ethiopian and Eritrean sambusa and South Asian lamb samosas. Basically what I’m trying to say is (a) I love observing patterns of migration and travel through food and (b) meat encased in puff pastry is always delicious. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Handful of sesame seeds, to sprinkle
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  1. Combine paprika, coriander, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, garlic, onion, pomegranate molasses, and ground beef in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Lay the pastry flat so that you have one large rectangle, with the long side closest to you. Place some of the meat in a sausage shape along one long edge of the rectangle. Carefully roll the pastry over the sausage, just until the meat is covered. Brush the edge with egg to seal it, brush the top with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, the cut the roll away from the rest of the pastry. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue filling, rolling, sealing, brushing, sprinkling, and cutting until you have used up all of the filling and pastry. You should have 3-4 long longs of pastry-covered meat. Place the logs in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. Remove the logs from the refrigerator and bake them for 25-35 minutes until the meat is cooked and the pastry is golden. Slice into 12-14 pieces and serve.

Miso Keema Curry

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I absolutely love this curry because it combines three of my favorite things: okra, keema, and donabe-style cooking. Adapted from my Donabe cookbook, this makes a perfect weeknight entree because of how easy it is. Make this in the summer when okra are in season and serve with rice. Perfection.

Miso keema curry
Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled, grated ginger
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder (I use a mix of Madras and Sri Lankan)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red miso
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons chicken bone broth
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 pound okra, trimmed and sliced crosswise
  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a donabe and saute the cumin seeds over medium or medium-low for 1 minute, until aromatic. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and continue sauteeing for 20 minutes, or until the onion is light golden and soft, being careful to not let the onion burn. Cover with a lid when not stirring. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute, or until aromatic. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the beef. Saute until the beef is almost cooked through. Add the carrot and stir. Add the curry powder and paprika and stir for 1 minute.
  2. Whisk the miso with a half ladleful of the stock in a small bowl. Set aside. Add the remaining stock, ketchup, and bay leaves to the donabe. As soon as the broth starts to boil, turn down the heat to simmer. Line the surface with a piece of aluminum foil. Cover with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the miso mixture, vinegar, salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Add the okra and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it rest, covered, 5 minutes. Serve with rice.