2 (Wed) March 2011
Grilled Sake Steak with Curry-Corn Rice
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
Last week, LJY and I had tried a “synchronized” cook-off, making more or less the same dish, more or less around the same time, then comparing photos and exchanging comments afterwards (see 2.050 Chicken Parmigiana with Black Olives and Spaghetti). Regardless of the respective outcomes, the experiment was interesting enough to warrant a second attempt.
This time, she sent me a recipe by Nigella Lawson. I was somewhat skeptical that the marinade and accompanying sauce required a combination of western and eastern seasonings – sake, chili oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, worcestershire sauce, and English mustard – which didn’t seem very compatible. In the end, the worcestershire dominated everything, making the meat taste like a fairly ordinary western-style steak; in fact, I have no clue as to why it’s even called “sake steak,” as the sake is the least notable and perhaps most unnecessary component. Anyway, it turned out much better than anticipated.
The rice was entirely my own creation. Prior to steaming, I added a dash of turmeric and curry powder to the water, along with a handful of canned corn kernels, in lieu of the cardamom pods called for in the recipe – I don’t have any cardamom pods. I was aware that the curry would add yet another potentially adverse flavor to the mix, but the idea was as compelling as it was sudden. And it worked, in itself and with the steak. I’m definitely going to do this spice-infused rice again, particularly the next time I make Indian food.
And here’s how LJY’s dish turned out, in her own words: “Epic fail on my meat selection. I thought I was buying flank steak (which I like) about 2-2.5 cm thick, but this was really thin, barely 1cm, maybe thinner! They tricked me by folding the meat over in layers. The marinade was good though. Rice plus 밥이랑 seasoning plus sesame oil bc becca likes it. Despite odd meat selection, I give it 4 stars. It might have received 5 stars otherwise! Also, I think any kind of marinade would have had pretty good results, so no real thanks to nigella.”
I appreciate the wicked butcher bamboozling her into buying a thin piece of meat through the dastardly ingenious ruse of folding it in layers.
Interesting that she too ignored the rice portion of the recipe. The 밥이랑 (babirang) seasoning that she mentions is a quick-and-easy Korean product, a small package that contains seaweed flakes, sesame seeds, dried carrot and onion bits, etc., as well as other flavoring agents, which are sprinkled onto cooked rice. With the sesame oil, the rice would have a distinct Korean character, particularly if she used medium-grain “sticky” rice, as the photo would suggest.
Anyway, it’s great that we started with the same recipe, improvised upon it each in our own way, and came out with something successful on either side.
For the next time, let’s do it like Iron Chef: select an ingredient and see what the other does with it. Having covered chicken and beef, how about shrimp? Say, sometime by the end of next week?
(For more details re food, see WHAT)
(For more details re venues, see WHERE IN KOREA)