Curry rubbed steak with peppers, herbs and Khao Koor –Tiger Tears from Myers + Chang At Home
A couple weeks ago it was a rainy weekend day so we decided as a family to go to the public library. Most of my family ran to the nearest computer to see if the newest in the series they were reading was there, but I just like to browse new releases… cookbooks edition. Many people don’t know that the library is a wonderful place to browse and check out cookbooks.
The one I settled on was Myers + Chang At Home. It is a beautiful cookbook with creative Asian recipes, most that contain less than 10 ingredients. There are also numerous easy sauces and marinades and very few ingredients that aren’t readily available your local grocery or Asian market. Every single chapter in this cookbook has something I am excited about making, especially the chapter on dumplings. Not only are there many recipes that are creative using few ingredients, but they give you the freedom to break away from tradition (and skill) and do things like rolling dumplings up like a burrito.
There are many photos in this cookbook, not for every recipe, but the ones included are good. The recipes are very easy to follow and I’ve enjoyed reading the commentary the authors put in front of every recipe. They give you some great insight into the people that inspired their recipes as well as the restaurant itself. Also, the first 1/5 of the book provides some great explanations into some basic ingredients found in Asian cooking as well as a few good “how to’s” such as using a wok and shaping dumplings. My book is due back to the library next week but I will definitely be adding it to my personal collection and think you should too!
The recipe I chose to feature for this post was mostly just intriguing. Especially when they mentioned that some customers come in weekly just to get their fill. Called, “Tiger Tears”, the recipe is basically a delicious and super spicy steak salad sans lettuce. Herbs take the place of other greens and although I veered a bit from the recipe in using sweet basil instead of Thai, the herbs are just as much the star of the show as the steak.
I will warn you that if you just buy the ingredients and don’t read the instructions ahead of time (due to time constraints) you’ll be pretty bummed. The recipe is (mostly) easy, but it does involve marinating meat (up to 24 hours), cooking it (quick), resting it (30 min) then putting it in the fridge (up to 24 hours). Don’t let this convince you that this recipe is difficult, because it’s not, but you need to do a bit of planning. Then there’s the khao koor…
So this stuff is weird if you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s basically rice that is baked at a low temperature for a long time, ground up with lemongrass and makrut lime leaf then ground to a fine powder. Again, it’s a bit time consuming if you were not aware of the process and hadn’t read ahead. Meaning, put it in the oven for 1.5 hours.
Then there’s the mortar and pestle comment. The book says, “Grind in a blender or spice grinder. Your coffee grinder will work, too. If you have a mortar and pestle, try that!” I’m going to rework that last sentence slightly to better fit reality and suggest it should be changed to, “If you have a mortar and pestle and want to dedicate over an hour to grinding that crap up so hard that you will physically see your forearm muscles becoming more defined right before your eyes, try that!” In other words, use the blender and move on with your life unless you have kids that have pissed you off recently and you can ask them to “help” you with dinner. Insert evil laughter.
Because I didn’t have easy access to makrut lime leaf I used the recommended substitute, grated zest of one lime. Either way, the Khao Koor added a really interesting crunchy texture and crunch to the salad and not going through the pain in the butt of making it and adding it would be a big mistake.
Myers + Chang At Home– By Joanne Chang with Karen Akunowicz
EASE AND CONVENIENCE – 3 – This recipe was not difficult, however it was time consuming and had a few ingredients you aren’t likely to have in your pantry
TASTE – 4.5 – This steak was wonderful as it was. I think it would be very delicious as well over rice as it would be nice to have something to soak up the extra sauce
COOKBOOK – 4.5 – This cookbook is beautiful, good quality and has many recipes I look forward to making in the future. If you enjoy Asian flavors and want to branch out from your orange chicken and beef and broccoli, get this book!