“Pho” inspired Grilled Steak with Mint, Cilantro, and Lime

This post is part of a larger series devoted to a Molecular Gastronomy focused meal I made: Molecular Gastronomy with an Asian Twist. Other posts in this series include Spherification (making “caviar”.

I am really starting to think that Southeast Asian cuisine is one of my favorites in the world.

I’m addicted to the fragrant and exotic herbs and spices typically used in the cuisine, From floral lemongrass and herbaceous Thai basil to the intensity of fish sauce and Sriracha sauce – I love it all.

This steak recipe incorporates many Southeast Asian flavors, adding an intense but flavorful kick to an otherwise mundane grilled steak recipe.

I tried it with skirt steak the first time, which worked out OK, but I may recommend trying a nicer cut, such as flank steak, if you want to avoid the chewier, stringier texture of skirt steak.

The elements of this dish are simple: a nice piece of steak, Southeast Asian herbs (mint, cilantro, shallots or onions), and chili flakes (to add some heat!).
Mix together all these chopped herbs.
Add soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and the meat and mix it all together. If you are using a traditional grill, put all this in a Ziploc bag and let it marinate for at least 1 hour, if not longer (preferably overnight).
In my case, I sealed it up in a vacuum bag and cooked it sous vide for 3 hours.
Simply grill according to the doneness you prefer (I highly recommend medium rare), and serve! This tastes great over salads, on top of noodles, or just on its own.

“Pho” Inspired Grilled Steak
Adapted from Food & Wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound steak (I used skirt steak)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Sous vide
Combine in a vacuum seal bag with steak and cook sous vide at 125° F for 3 hours. Remove from bag, dry the meat, and quickly sear on the grill just enough to get a nice sear. Serve immediately (sous vide steaks do not need to rest – they are already perfectly cooked inside!)

For more details about the sous vide method for cooking steaks, click here.

Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and marinated for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Before grilling, sprinkle kosher salt and pepper all over the steak.

If skirt steak, grill 2-3 minutes a side for a medium to medium rare steak. If a 2-lb flank steak (the usual size of a whole flank steak), grill 4-6 minutes on each side. Let rest, covered in foil, 10 minutes before slicing (against the grain!) and serving.

*note – whole flank steaks are usually 2 lbs, so just double the recipe above.

For a perfect steak, use the oven to pan method described here.

Enjoy! Optionally pair with spherified Sriracha and hoisin sauce!


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