Sesame flavored beef
I don't have a lot of red meat recipes here, especially not beef. The biggest reason for this is that beef is the most expensive cut of meat usually, and I'm all about making bentos that are economical. But I do use beef sometimes, and one of my favorite ways is to treat it as I do in this recipe - quickly stir-fried, salty-sweet and tender strips of beef flavored with sesame oil.
I use a cut called 'minute steak' around here; it's basically a thinly cut piece of lean beef. Such cuts of beef are called different things in different countries, so just buy a flat piece of beef that could be used as a thin steak or cut up in a stir fry. (In the U.S., thinly sliced steak meat for Philly cheesesteaks works well. Trader Joe's has fairly inexpensive packs of thinly sliced beef offcuts that would work great for this.)
If your piece of beef is more than 1/3 inch / 1 cm or so thick, put it between two sheets of kitchen parchment paper or in a plastic bag and pound it thin with a meat mallet, rolling pin or the side of a heavy knife. This tenderizes an inexpensive cut of meat, and also makes it cook a lot faster.
Recipe: Sesame flavored beef
For 2 to 3 portions
- 200g / about 7-8 oz. thinly cut beef
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. mirin
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. + 1 tsp. sesame oil
Slice the beef (after pounding if necessary) across the grain into thin strips. (The grain is the direction in which the meat muscles run - you want to cut the meat perpendicular to that.) Put into a bowl, and add all the other ingredients except for the 1 tsp. of sesame oil. Massage the meat with your hands to rub in the marinade.
You can cook this right away, or leave it for a little while or even overnight.
Heat up a frying pan and add the remaining 1 tsp. of sesame oil. Add the beef to the hot pan and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until done. It should be just a bit syrupy, and an appetizing dark brown.
You can marinate this the night before and cook it in the morning (this is ideal), or cook it the night before.
You can change up the oil to give this a different flavor. For instance, try olive oil, salt, rosemary and a tiny bit of garlic for Mediterranean flavored beef. Massaging in the a little oil serves to make lean cuts more tender and juicy.