Noodles and lemongrass: a one-dish Vietnamese-style dinner
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
There is something infinitely satisfying about presenting a complete dinner heaped on one platter. The arrangement suggests a family-style feast. It's a fun method for casual dining, which allows everyone to dig into a balanced meal combining meat, greens and grains, or in this case, noodles.
This Vietnamese-inspired recipe embraces budget-friendly skirt steak, a flavorful cut of meat that loves a good marinade, piled over a tangle of Asian noodles. A sweet and sour marinade is perfumed with lemongrass, a key ingredient in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, which infuses the meat with flavor and spice. The longer the beef marinates, the better the flavor, but that's the only time-consuming step in making this dish, which requires little effort — only advance planning to allow for marinating.
Lemongrass, also known as citronella, is commonly used to flavor stir-fry dishes, marinades and curries. It looks like a woody spring onion and has a uniquely fragrant lemon-floral flavor concentrated in the oils in the center of its stalk. For a marinade, the stalk need only be sliced to release its flavor. For other dishes where the lemongrass is eaten, the outer stalks should be removed and the center stalks minced or pounded to a paste. Lemongrass is sold in the fresh produce section of well-stocked supermarkets or in Asian markets.
If you can't find fresh lemongrass in the produce section, it's also sold as jarred paste. Simply add 1 tablespoon of the paste to the marinade. The other marinade and dressing ingredients are available in the international section of grocery stores and in Asian supermarkets. Once the ingredients are on hand, this dish comes together quickly for a family-friendly weeknight dinner that will have everyone reaching for seconds.
Lemongrass and Garlic Skirt Steak With Sesame Noodles
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)
Marinating Time: 2 to 24 hours
Yield: 4 servings
■ 2 garlic cloves, minced
■ 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
■ 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
■ 2 tablespoons soy sauce
■ 1 tablespoon fish sauce
■ 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
■ 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, outer leaves removed, stalk thinly sliced (or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste)
■ 1½ to 2 pounds skirt steak
■ 8 ounces Vietnamese wheat noodles, Chinese egg noodles or ramen
■ 1 small garlic clove, minced
■ 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
■ 2 tablespoons sesame oil
■ 2 tablespoons tahini
■ 1 tablespoon soy sauce
■ 2 teaspoons brown sugar
■ 1 teaspoon finely grated and peeled fresh ginger
■ ¼ teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce
■ Vegetable oil for pan frying
■ 1 to 2 red or green jalapeno chile peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
■ ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves and/or torn mint leaves
■ 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
■ Lime wedges
Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Slice the skirt steak on the diagonal against the grain into 1-inch strips. Add to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
Cook the noodles until al dente per manufacturer's instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. While the noodles are cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the drained noodles and toss to thoroughly coat.
Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Remove the steak from the marinade and add to the skillet, in batches if necessary, without overcrowding the pan. (The steak may also be grilled over direct medium-high heat.) Discard the marinade. Sear the steak on both sides until cooked to your desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.
To serve, spread the noodles on a serving platter or in a shallow serving bowl. Arrange the skirt steak strips over the noodles and scatter the chile peppers, cilantro, mint and sesame seeds over and around the steak. Garnish with the lime wedges and drizzle the remaining dressing over the steak and noodles. Serve warm.
Lynda Balslev is the co-author of "Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture" (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.)