Friday, 22 April 2011

My Most Requested Recipe - Ever!

Or an alternative Easter Dinner for those who do not want to do the full on roast with all the trimmings in this glorious weather.

I have made this meal numerous times for the family and many times for friends, family, guests, etc. I don't think that there is anyone who I have made it for who hasn't then requested the recipe. It is just one of those kind of meals. My kids hoover it back and who on earth would argue with children devouring huge quantities of salad?

So if you fancy a barbeque this weekend, instead of a leg of lamb slow cooked in this summer heat, then I have this suggestion for you -

Oriental Beef and Spinach Salad

I originally found this recipe on I don't know if it is still there. They called it Pacific Rim Beef Salad. I am sure they wouldn't mind me passing on any recipe that encouraged people to eat beef.  I, as per usual, have made some slight changes to their recipe - the main one being the cut of meat used. They specify top sirloin. I don't.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not adverse to a good piece of top sirloin chucked on the barbeque and then decorating my plate. But for this dish I suggest you use skirt (I think it is called flank in North America). Skirt is a highly overlooked cut of meat and it shouldn't be. Most use it for stews or pasties. Here is why I think it is perfect for this dish. (a) It is very lean; (b) It is sliced against the grain so never chewy; (c) It is a very tasty cut; and - this one is important especially if you are feeding a few - (d) It is cheap. What's not to like about it then?

I deviate from the recipe right at the beginning then. And next, in the first step I am so sure that you will love this that I recommend that you buy twice as much beef as you need (please note the plug for beef and then freeze half of it so that you can have the meal again when you so require.

Right, on with the recipe then -

Flank Steak - as much as you think you need

See, told you it was lean!
3/4 cup soya sauce
1/2 cup sugar
thumb size nob of ginger - grated
2 large cloves of garlic - crushed

Mix marinade ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Remove two tbsp of the marinade and reserve for use later. Place beef in marinade and put the whole lot into a zip lock bag and leave to marinate for at least 3-4 hours but preferably overnight.

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp Asian hot chili sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
the reserved marinade

Mix all the above ingredients together until emulsified. (The original recipe calls for cooking the dressing and leaving to cool but I don't and do not feel the recipe is compromised in any way.)

The salad ingredients are entirely up to you but spinach is the green that I would recommend. It is hearty enough to stand up to the strong flavours and the beef it is served with. When we have this salad some of our vegetables of choice are: tomatoes, red or yellow peppers, red onion sliced thinly, cucumber, grated carrot, radishes, etc. Go with what you like.

When you are ready for your meal light up the barbeque and get grilling. Remove the required amount of meat from the zip lick bag and then reseal and freeze the remaining meat still in the marinade until required. The meat can be cooked indoors of course. I usually sear it in a hot pan quickly and then finish it in the oven. Barbequing it is better though! Cook the meat to your desired preference - medium rare works really well with this salad but if you are not one for that then don't worry, the marinade tends to keep the meat moist and it can take a little extra cooking without compromising the dish. I know because I have been known to  miscalculate cooking times but still enjoyed my dinner just as much.

When the meat is cooked leave it to rest for ten minutes before slicing. When you do slice it, do so against the grain in in fairly thin slices.

Told you I overcooked it at times. It happens!

Pour any meat juices that have collected on the cutting board over the meat.

Serve with the salad and dressing on the side. The dressing is nice on the meat as well as the greens. We have this with copious amounts of sesame seeds sprinkled all over. You could toast them first but I certainly never remember to!

I would have tried to get a photo of all the meal together but by the time I got back in from the kitchen with the beef Emily was already digging into the salad.

Not much to report for today. Spent the morning in B&Q and then Tesco. I now know why they put the wine in the very last aisle. Because if you haven't completely lost the will to live by that point then you might buy yourself a treat. Proof -

I have had a play (successfully) at the machine while I worked on what to give my Pay It Forward participants. Oh, news flash, I have another taker! Only one spot left. The lovely Nikki has jumped on the bandwagon but I can't email her and tell her thanks because my perpetually troublesome email is being troublesome and refusing to talk to anyone. I shall tell Mr IT Man when he isn't looking so hot and bothered about the crap bike rack he just spent all afternoon sourcing and then installing only to find out that it was - well crap to be frank.

So here is a sneaky peek at what I got up to but not all of it and no one knows who it will go to or if the girls will win out and get to keep it for themselves.

Have a great Easter weekend. Don't forget your suncream!



  1. Sounds delicious Susan. Your sneak peak looks good too! Hope you and yours have a nice Easter weekend.

  2. This is just my kind of thing - looks incredible. Will make it when I`m back in England in husband isn`t a fan of Asian food and I think this is one dish that needs to be shared and enjoyed. Happy Easter Susan - hope you are getting up to lots of fun with your gorgeous girls.

  3. My daughter Annabella (she has commented) is coming to stay in May and I was complaining to her that I never get the Barbie out so as she loves the recipe and I love the sound of it, we'll have a go! Being old fashioned I'm a great advocate for beef skirt, so thank you for reminding everyone about it - just hope my butcher hasn't sold out.

  4. It's already in the fridge marinating for dinner tomorrow! I wasn't sure what cut I'd bought (zadni kytka bez kosti) which turns out to be back leg without the bone. Will let you know how it turns out

  5. I can report that this recipe is indeed delicious and sooo easy to make. The piece of meat we used was a bit tough, but not too bad. Will try to find out what skirt is in czech before trying it again!
    Thanks for sharing

  6. Your recipe looks so delicious...and your sneak peek intriguing! :o)

  7. I made this tonight and it was really great, lots of flavour. I had a piece of steak on hand (not skirt/flank) so used that instead. Will definitely make this again. Thanks for the recipe.


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