Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hoisin Beef with Rice Noodles

This package of rice noodles has been staring at me from the pantry for a while.  Can any of you relate to that?  You buy something will all the good intentions to use it, but each time it raises it's hand, you pass it over for the next guy.  Sort of makes you feel bad for it, huh?  Like the poor nonathletic kid who gets picked last for sports?  Well today is the day for this box!

Earlier today, I took some super thin strips of beef, mixed them with a wonderful sweet, tangy, spicy'ish Asian sauce, and through them back in the refrigerator for a few hours to marinate while I went about the day.  To finish, I'll give them a quick stir fry with some other goodies, and finally invite the rice noodles to the dance!  I'll let everyone garnish their own.  This way, my picky ones can have theirs plain, and that I get to load mine up with awesome garnishes will really bring this dish alive - like fresh cilantro, peanuts, green onions, a big squeeze of fresh lime juice, and shredded carrots!

Wow!!  Surprise!  Nothing like having three extra teenagers show up right at dinnertime!  Wait... who's been telling whom about dinner here?!  At any rate... it worked like a finely tuned clock.  Even my extended "test group" loved it and came asking for seconds!  That makes 9 people!  wow!

Print this recipe!


Ingredients: (6 - 8 servings)
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 minced, seeded jalapeno 
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp sweet garlic chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds very thin beef, cut into thin strips (Milanesa cut)
  • 1/3 each of a red, yellow, and orange bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil for the wok (or skillet)
  • 9 oz rice noodles
  • grated carrots, chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges
Step-by-step:
This recipe has four basic steps... 
   1. make the marinade and add the meat.
   2. stir fry veggies and meat
   3. make and rinse the rice noodles
   4. add your own toppings to make it perfectly yours!

Let's get cooking -  
Mix together the first 13 ingredients.  Yeah, that's a big number, but this is fairly common stuff so you will probably either have most of it on hand, or won't have a problem finding it. 

1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 large lime freshly juiced
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 5 cloves), 1/2 minced, seeded jalapeno (For more heat, add more jalapeno and leave the seeds in.)
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
 1 Tbsp sweet garlic chili sauce, 2 Tbsp canola oil
Now get some REALLY thin beef... this one is called a Milanesa cut beef, and cut it into strips.
Now before we go any further, remove 1 cup of the marinade and set it aside.  We will use this later to make our sauce... um.... more saucy. 
1 1/2 pounds very thin beef, cut into thin strips (Milanesa cut)
Take the marinade that is in the bowl and combine it with the beef strips.  I like to do this in a ziptop bag, remove the air, and throw it in the fridge.  This bag squishes anywhere in the refrigerator (since mine is usually jammed full of stuff).
Also, when you squeeze all the air out, the marinade contacts more of the surface area of the meat all at once.  Now throw the bag in the refrigerator for a few hours.  I left mine in there for about 3.5 hrs, but you could put it in there in the morning before work and it would be fine the whole day until you come home.
Now we are ready to get cooking!
I am going to add some sweet bell peppers to my stir fry.  They add a lot of nutrition, they aren't bitter, and I love having a very colorful meal... the more colors, the more well balanced the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
1/3 each of a red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips
This goes really fast once you start, so have all the toppings ready.  For the crew I am cooking for, I am going to make the basic recipe with noodles and beef... then I will set all the toppings out, buffet style, and let them choose their own.
honey roasted peanuts (rough chopped), shredded carrots, sliced green onions, and cilantro
Ready, set, go!
Start stir frying the peppers in 1 Tbsp hot canola oil just until they start to soften slightly.
Add the marinated beef, along with any juices in the bag.
Cook the rice noodles the same way you would regular pasta noodles (but perhaps in a larger pot than I used). 
When the noodles are tender, drain and rinse them under warm water to get all of the starch off of them.  If you don't, they will all stick together in a big knot... just like sticky rice.  You will be adding them to the hot beef in the wok, so don't worry about them not being super hot.
Add the rinsed rice noodles to the beef mixture.  You can see that the beef is fully cooked now.
The noodles will soak up a lot of sauce, so now lets add the reserved sauce to the wok.
When the added sauce is heated through, the dish is ready.  Ring the dinner bell!!
Have all of the toppings ready so everyone can add what they like.
Of course I like it ALL!!!  
... oh and one more thing not pictured... serve with some lime wedges.  The fresh lime juice really wakes up these flavors and brings a lot of brightness.

This is one of those dishes that you can eat a whole plate of and not feel "heavy" afterwards.  So many wonderful flavors and textures playing against each other.  When the teens started coming back asking for seconds, I knew this was a big hit!
Enjoy this recipe?
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Written Method:  
This recipe has four basic steps... 
   1. make the marinade and add the meat.
   2. stir fry veggies and meat
   3. make and rinse the rice noodles
   4. add your own toppings to make it perfectly yours!

Let's get cooking -  
Mix together the first 13 ingredients.  Yeah, that's a big number, but this is fairly common stuff so you will probably either have most of it on hand, or won't have a problem finding it. 

Now get some REALLY thin beef... this one is called a Milanesa cut beef, and cut it into strips.

Now before we go any further, remove 1 cup of the marinade and set it aside.  We will use this later to make our sauce... um.... more saucy.  Take the marinade that is in the bowl and combine it with the beef strips.  I like to do this in a ziptop bag, remove the air, and throw it in the fridge.  This bag squishes anywhere in the refrigerator (since mine is usually jammed full of stuff).  Also, when you squeeze all the air out, the marinade contacts more of the surface area of the meat all at once.  Now throw the bag in the refrigerator for a few hours.  I left mine in there for about 3.5 hrs, but you could put it in there in the morning before work and it would be fine the whole day until you come home.

Ready, set, go!
Start stir frying the peppers in 1 Tbsp hot canola oil just until they start to soften slightly.  Add the marinated beef, along with any juices in the bag.

Cook the rice noodles the same way you would regular pasta noodles (but perhaps in a larger pot than I used).  When the noodles are tender, drain and rinse them under warm water to get all of the starch off of them.  If you don't, they will all stick together in a big knot... just like sticky rice.  You will be adding them to the hot beef in the wok, so don't worry about them not being super hot.  Add the rinsed rice noodles to the beef mixture.  You can see that the beef is fully cooked now.

The noodles will soak up a lot of sauce, so now lets add the reserved sauce to the wok.  When the added sauce is heated through, the dish is ready.  Ring the dinner bell!!  Have all of the toppings ready so everyone can add what they like.

... oh and one more thing ... serve with some lime wedges.  The fresh lime juice really wakes up these flavors and brings a lot of brightness.

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