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Asian beef and rice bowl

There are many addictions in the world and it would be remise of me not to admit to one of my own.  Cooking magazines.  Not quite as bad as cook books, although the only reason I buy magazines is because I have so many books that my shelving is beginning to look a little a lot worse for wear.  Mind you it is not all magazines, just a select few.  My favourites are those that can sometimes put a different slant of recipes and have some great stories about produce/products.  I also love great photography.  This being (what I consider to be) one of my weaker areas, I love seeing what great work can be done to inspire people to cook.

Recently I purchased the December 2009/January 2010 copy of Dish, a NZ magazine that was introduced to me some time ago by my passionate and very selective foodie friend, Karina.  I flicked through it and marked about ten things that I wanted to try and this is one of them.  This recipe was under the easy entertaining section.

asian beef and rice bowl (recipe from Dish Magazine, Dec/Jan 2010, P 115)
serves 4

Ingredients
500g sirloin or rump steak
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sesame oil
good grinding of black pepper

cooking broth
2 cups beef stock
3 Tbsp hiosin or oyster sauce 
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

rice
1 3/4 cups basmati rice, well washed and drained
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water

to serve
1 bunch bok choy, leaves separated
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
pickled ginger, optional

Preparation
Rice:  Put the rice and stock with a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan.  Bring to the boil, stir and cover tightly.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes without the lifting the lid. (A simmer mat is ideal for gentle cooking).

Remove from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes.

Beef:  Slice beef thinly and combine with the ginger, garlic, sesame oil and pepper.

Broth:  Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes to infuse the flavours.  Drop the bok choy into a saucepan of boiling, salted water and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Drain well.

To serve:  Add 1/3 of the beef to the hot stock, stirring to separate the pieces.  As soon as it changes colour remove with a slotted spook and place in a bowl.  Cover to keep warm.  Cook the remaining beef.

Fluff up the rice with a fork and spoon into the centre of a warm, shallow servings bowls.  Top with the beef, bok,choy, sesame seeds and ginger.  Ladle the hot broth around the rice.

My tips:  *I used rump steak and cooked it for approximately 30 seconds in the hot broth.  This meant that it remained meltingly soft.  *I didn’t cook the rice according to the recipe, I used my own fail safe method and suggest you do the same.

ease: 6/10.  This is a simple dish but using so many pots meant that the clean up wasn’t as simple.
prep time: 25mins.
cooking time: 15mins.
total: 40mins.

taste: 6/10.  I was generous, G rated this dish 5/10.  We agreed that the most delicious parts of the meal were the tenderness of the beef and the taste of the broth which was well balanced with good depth and layers of flavour to it.  The rest of the dish didn’t have much body and fell flat on the palate.  The bok choy was fresh but had that irony taste associated with leafy greens that made it seem impossible for it to blend into the dish.  While the pickled ginger added an extra dimension, G and I agreed that we would both leave it out next time.         

would I make it again: Maybe – With the following changes – Saute thin slices of onion, red capsicum and bok choy stems, until slightly softened, add chopped bock choy leaves.  Once beef is cooked add to vegetables and place on top of rice.  Top with coriander leaves and roughly chopped toasted cashew nuts.