Jamie Oliver's Asian Crispy Beef with Brown Rice Noodles

I'm multiracial and half of me is Filipino. Considering I'm half asian, I don't actually cook asian food all that often.  I was an incredibly picky eater as a child, so eating authentic filipino cooking wasn't high on my priorities list [peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pizza and mac and cheese were my menu of choice]. I have quite a few goals for this year, some are big and some are more manageable.  Cooking more with asian ingredients is high on my list and seems like an easily attainable goal. To my surprise, I've learned a great deal about asian ingredients and flavors from Jamie Oliver. He's quite a famous British chef, and after hearing his cookbooks were great from a friend, I picked up his Everyday Super Food cookbook.  I still need to do a proper review of the book, but basically the inspiration behind it was to source ingredients and recipes from places all over the world that have some of the healthiest, longest living people.  The book incorporates a number of asian cultures.  So far, this recipe for asian crispy beef with brown rice noodles is the quickest and easiest of the lot, and it's a perfect weeknight meal!

When I made this, I had to make a couple modifications since I either couldn't find the exact ingredient or just realized I didn't have something on hand. I'd also modify the spice level a bit.  Chiles can be tricky, because a recipe may call for one chile, but they come in all sizes and levels of potency.  I find red chiles the most unpredictable, and I for sure used a real kicker when I made this dish.  I'll share my version of the recipe, but I highly recommend picking up this book and giving this dish and all the other recipes a try. I'm rapidly making my way through the book, and have been floored by the flavors and the meals I've made every time!

Asian Crispy Beef, Brown Rice Noodles & Loadsa Salad [my modifications on Jamie Oliver's version]

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 star anise [I swore I had this at home but couldn't find it anywhere. Give it a try with or without it!]
  • 8oz lean ground beef [I use grass fed]
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 limes
  • 5oz brown rice noodles 
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 fresh red chile [though I'd cut it in half or use a jalepeno which is a bit calmer]
  • 8oz bag of asian salad mix [I found a good one from Dole at Kroger, but you can also create your own- Jamie recommends a combo of bibb lettuce ,carrots, radishes, watercress and spinach]
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • optional: asian crispy wonton strips [my salad mix came with them and they add a really nice little crunch to the dish, just don't overdo it on them!]

Peel and finely chop the garlic and ginger and divide into two portions. Put one tablespoon sesame oil and star anise into the frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, followed by one portion of  garlic and ginger and the honey. Stir fry for five minutes until the beef is crispy and golden brown. Meanwhile, crush the remaining garlic and ginger in a mortar and pestle. Muddle in the fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice to make a dressing. Cook the noodles according to the packaging. Trim the scallions and finely slice along with the chile [be sure to seed it first!]. Prep the salad by slicing the lettuce and creating matchsticks out of any crunchy vegetables. [if you buy the right kind of pre made mix, you can save a lot of prep time!].

Load up your plate with the salad, drain and add the noodles, spoon over the dressing, sprinkle on the crispy beef, chile, scallions, cilantro and almonds. [Tip: if you want to make a big batch of this, just be sure not to mix all the ingredients until you're about to eat, otherwise things can get soggy!]

The combination of textures, flavors, sweet, spicy, savory, carbs, proteins, greens makes this a really complete, well balanced meal.  A must try!