Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CSA week seven - gyuniku no negimaki

Until I did the research I had no idea how many types of beef and scallion recipes there were. I found a Chinese beef and scallion stir fry in hoisin sauce, Korean beef short ribs with scallions, a vaguely southeast Asian spice crusted beef with lime marinated scallions (which is definitely going on my to make list), and the dish that seemed like the most fun to try: Japanese beef and scallion rolls. I've seen asparagus and spinach versions of this dish at Japanese restaurants, but scallions sounded like they'd be good too.

The recipe itself is very simple. Take a decent quality piece of beef (I used top round), sliced thin. Pound it even thinner and then marinate it in teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki sauce is usually made with mirin but I was out so I approximated it. The full recipe I used was:
6 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons dry rice wine
1 1/2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
mix well and add meat.

I cut the meat into seven inch wide pieces and marinated them for a bit over an hour, which was plenty.

I sliced the scallions to fit and found that I didn't have quite as much as I wanted so I added some slices of sweet yellow pepper as well. Then I rolled them up against the grain of the meat. That way, when I sliced it into rounds, the long rolled strips would be against the grain too and more tender. I think I got that right. Then I discovered that I had forgotten toothpicks to hold them closed.

I did a shallow fry in 1/4" of nearly smoking peanut oil for two minutes with a couple of turns and holding the rolls together as best I could. But even when they did stay more or less rolled, after I sliced them up, they didn't stay that way. The meat was tender and very flavorful, the vegetables crisp and light, but without the rolls staying together the presentation just wasn't working for me. So I decided to repurpose the ingredients into a teriyaki rice bowl.

I poured some of the leftover marinade into a small pot and boiled it down a little bit. For a fullfledged presentation teriyaki sauce I should have added some cornstarch and just heated it until it thickened, but this way worked too.

Meanwhile, I extricated the vegetables from an unsliced roll, cut them down to a more manageable size, 2-3" long, and cut the meat into smaller chunks. I reheated the vegetables in a nonstick pan with a bit of the used oil (which was infused with a bit of flavor by now I figured) at medium high, cooked them briefly, added the meat, heated it through and threw in a lightly beaten egg. Just as it set I scrambled it a little and dumped it all out onto a bowl of rice. A little of the sauce on top and there you go. Simple, easy and tasty. (Not very photogenic though. You've probably seen it and know it looks a little predigested in person too. Well, it has a great personality.) I don't know why I've never made it before.

I've just now noticed that the negimaki was supposed to be served with a squeeze of lemon. That definitely would have worked with the rice bowl too. I'll have to remember that when I finish the remaining roll later.

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