How To Take the Confusion out of Asian Fusion (with Beef Bibimbap)
Asian flavors are all the rage on the food scene. During a visit to the food truck capitol of the United States, Austin, Texas, I went to a restaurant called Uchi and two trucks: East Side King and Thai Kun (get it, like Tycoon). All were Asian fusion and extremely delicious. They took familiar foods and made them inventive; like a potato chip topped with smoked yellowtail sushi. Mind blowing. I also had kimchi, the pickled cabbage dish that is dear to Korean’s hearts. But it wasn’t just any kimchi. It was fried (and gluten free). All the foods I tasted on the trip were delicious. And, not surprisingly, when I arrived home I found myself craving the satisfying umami flavors Asian-fusion foods serve up.
I am fairly experienced as a cook. I love to make meals, eat, and serve my friends and family. But growing up with an Italian father, I didn’t get a lot of exposure to Asian food and its influences. In fact, to me, cooking with Asian ingredients is intimidating. The flavors and spices are, well...foreign. I can’t just add a pinch-of-this or a dash-of-that because I am not sure what it will taste like when I put them together.
That is why I am so glad my husband surprised me with a Hello Fresh box. It’s one of those delivery services that sends you food and recipes and all the ingredients are pre-measured and pre-cut. It made me feel like I was on Food Network. I loved the experience. The best part was Hello Fresh’s recipe for beef bibimbap. It sparked creativity and inspiration to incorporate more Asian-fusion dishes into my weekly rotation.
As with almost any recipe I make, I did not follow the instructions. However, it turned out delicious. Here’s my spin on the Hello Fresh version of the Asian-fusion dish known as beef bibimbap.
Be the Bibimbap
Do yourself a favor and use beef tenderloin. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s life changing. Since first savoring this cut of meat a few years back, it’s now the only steak I cook with. It is not fatty, yet tender and delicious. Convinced? Okay, now we can get started making the marinade.
Making the Marinade
Start with Sriracha. You can use as little at one tablespoon, but if you like a little spice, step it up a notch. I use ¼ of a cupish.
Then, add soy sauce. [Side Rant: If you are REMOTELY concerned about your health or just living in general, I highly recommend using Bragg Liquid Aminos. Do a blind taste test of soy sauce and the liquid aminos. You will not be able to tell the difference and you will slash your sodium intake by about 200%! Bragg Liquid Aminos is also gluten free, non GMO, vegan, and Kosher].Add about ½ a cup of Bragg to your Sriracha. Then add two garlic cloves grated or minced and a small thumb-sized piece of grated ginger (or use 3-4 cubes of Pop & Cook. It is my ginger jam because it is so easy).
Now, chop some green onions and put them into a bowl of white vinegar. Toss in a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar (if you are watching your sugar intake, leave it out. I almost always do). This is a quick way pickle something. It is so delicious. You can let the onions hang out for up to an hour. Just make sure you drain them before using.
Back to the Steak and Veggies
Put your steak in a plastic bag and dump in ½ the marinade. Place your steak on the counter and let it hang out at room temperature for about 30-minutes in the marinade. While you are waiting on the steak, cut up the vegetables. I use carrots, zucchini, and mushroom. If you don’t like one of those omit and add more of ones you like. To add texture and enhance the visual appeal, I ribbon my carrot and zucchini using a vegetable peeler. Just create long strips. You will have an awkward middle left of both vegetables. Chop it up for an omelet or to dip in hummus.
Go preheat your grill now.
Next, add all the veggies to a pan and a smidge of olive oil and sauté on low.
Once your grill is hot, grab your steak and head to the patio (I usually pour a drink at this moment). Throw your steak on. I like mine medium. Cook yours however you like it. It’s a free country.
After the steak is done cooking, and you’ve poured your second drink (that first one went down smoothly) bring the meat inside and let them rest for about 10-minutes before slicing as thin as humanly possible. I use a serrated knife for this. You should too.
If you have ever eaten Korean BBQ, you will notice my slices are not nearly as thin. #Goals.
For this next part, you have creative control. If you are a stacker, stack. If you are a mixer, mix. If you are a separatist, separate. I am a stacker and a mixer. On this occasion, I mixed. Pour your rice of choice over the veg, right in the pan. My rice of choice is Uncle Ben's Ready Rice Brown Basmati or Jasmine. It is good, quick, and easy.
Pour the remaining marinade on top of the rice and veg mixture. Spoon rice and veg mixture into a shallow bowl. Place sliced steak on top. Garnish with pickled green onion and more sriracha.
If you’re like me, this dish is proof you can put some Asian in your Caucasian.
Beef Bibimbap Recipe
Recipe: Beef Bibimbap
Yield: 2 servings
1lb of Beef Tenderloin
¼ of a cup of Sriracha (less/more)
½ a cup or Braggs Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic minced or grated
1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and minced or 3-4 cubes of Pop and Cook ginger found in your grocer’s freezer section
4 scallions chopped
½ cup of white vinegar
Pinch of salt and sugar
4 oz of sliced baby portabella (you can also use button)
1 tablespoon of olive oil or vegetable oil
1 package of Uncle Ben’s Brown Basmati/ Jasmine Ready Rice or 1 cup of cooked rice of your choice
Combine Sriracha, Braggs, grated/minced garlic and ginger in a bowl. Place half the mixture into a gallon-sized plastic storage food bag. Place the beef tenderloin steak into the bag and seal. Let the steak marinate for about 30 minutes on the counter. *It is important to NOT put the steak back in the refrigerator. Cold meat on a hot grill = a tough mess*
While the steak is marinating, prepare your quick pickled onions by slicing your scallions and putting them in a bowl. Cover with ½ cup of white vinegar and a dash of salt and sugar (sugar optional). Go preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan.
Next, take a vegetable peeler and slice long ribbons from your carrots and zucchini. Keep awkward middle pieces for a different use. Slice mushrooms thinly. Place olive oil in a pan and pour in all the vegetables. Cook on medium heat until you get your desired tenderness.
While the vegetables are cooking, place steak on the grill or grill pan until it’s cooked to your preference. Pull the steak off of the grill and let it rest on a plate on the counter for about 10 minutes.
While steak is resting, add cooked rice to your vegetable and the remainder of the marinade. Drain the vinegar from the scallions. Thinly slice the steak. Spoon the vegetable and rice mixture into a bowl. Top with sliced steak, scallions, and a drizzle of Sriracha.