Sweet and Sticky Garlic Stout Beef, 20 minutes and it’s so good!
I’m on an airplane, somewhere over South America, between Panama and Huston, Texas. I’m trying to remember waking up this morning, but sleeping the night before I leave a trip is always impossible. My brain is processing what I’m leaving, the sunburn I’m bringing home from Costa Rica, the days I spent teaching a new menu to a group of South American cooks, the rum bar that has become my favorite in the world, the cocktails, the people who had to endure my hideous Spanish skills, and even the small moments that have embedded themselves into my soul.
I spent two weeks in Panama City, Panama creating menus for two brands, two brands that I love and was incredibly grateful to get to work with. La Rana Dorada, the hands-down best beer in Central America, has one of the most beautiful pubs in Casco Viejo, Panama. At the end of the week, after sweaty hours and dozens of dishes, the head chef learned enough English to say to me, “You cook like magic. Thank you for making my cooking better. Thank you for making my kitchen better.” That exchange is my favorite souvenir I’ve brought home from a trip.
I also worked on The Pub, an Irish pub in Bogota, Colombia. A place so perfectly crafted, you feel like you’ve stumbled into Dublin. A week of perfecting Fish ‘N Chips, modernizing Bangers and Mash, and creating Colombian takes on Irish dishes, I’m proud of what we did. The cook who flew down from Bogota to learn the menu asked me on the last day, “Why food? You photograph and write, you could do that with anything. Why food?”
Why food? Because it’s the same in every language. Everyone, throughout the history of time, has sat down to a meal with the ones they love. Everyone shares food as a way to bond. Everyone wants to eat dinner with the people closest to them, or the people they want to be close to. Nothing levels the playing field like food.
- 1 lb flank steak
- 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
- ½ teaspoon ginger, grated with a microplane
- 1 teaspoon hot Chinese mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 large cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
- ¼ cup (85g) honey
- ½ teaspoon (2g) black pepper
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) stout beer
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- rice for serving
- Place the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes (this will make it easier to cut).
- In a small bowl stir together the ginger, mustard, red pepper flakes, garlic, honey, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
- Remove the steak from the freezer, thinly slice against the grain then sprinkle on all sides with salt.
- Place the cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Stir together the beer and remaining soy sauce in a separate bowl.
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat.
- A few at a time, add the beef strips to the cornstarch, then add to the soy/beer mixture, then add to the skillet. Repeat for all beef.
- Once the beef has started to brown, add the honey mixture as well as any of the beer mixture that may remain from the steak dredge, to the skillet.
- Lower heat to medium, cooking until sauce has thickened.
- Add to a serving platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with rice.