Recipe: Grilled Flank Steak Salad

Chili threads add subtle yet complex heat to this great summertime dish.

July 21, 2015

By Murray Bancroft / Photo: Clinton Hussey

If, like me, you enjoy the mix of pain and pleasure only a capsicum can provide, you’ll love the well-balanced kick that comes from chili threads. Dried and finely sliced, they’re made from Korean red pepper and possess a medium heat with smoky, grassy notes. Traditionally used in kimchi, they’re a perfect garnish for soups, salads, and noodle dishes. Try toasting them briefly in a hot pan to coax out their fragrant goodness.

David Wong, product development chef at Earls, uses them in the restaurant’s popular kung pao noodle bowl, and at home in this simple but flavourful recipe.

Grilled Flank Steak Salad

5 oz flank steak
2 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
pinch five-spice powder
1 tbsp minced garlic, divided
250 g dry bean-thread noodles
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp ginger, minced
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sambal oelek (you may also use sriracha or chili oil)
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
10 mint leaves, torn
10 Thai basil leaves, torn
2 tbsp chili threads

Combine the soy sauce, modest salt and pepper, five-spice powder, and 1 tsp minced garlic, and marinate the flank steak for a minimum of two hours (up to 18 hours). Cook the bean-thread noodles per package instructions, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Set aside. Over high heat, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to a hot cast-iron pan and sear the steak on one side until caramelized (about two minutes). Turn and sear for another two minutes until medium-rare, or to your liking; remove from pan and allow to rest. Reduce heat to medium, wipe the pan, and add ginger, and remaining oil and garlic. Sauté for two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and sambal oelek. Toss the mixture with the noodles. Plate and top with the beef (cut against the grain into quarter-inch slices), herbs, and chili threads. Serves four.

(Tip: Find chili threads at South China Seas Trading Co. for $4.95 per 10 grams.)

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