Truth to be told, I am a lazy cook. When comes to midweek meals, I like it fast and simple. I am sure many of us have a busy lifestyle, the last thing you want to do is to slave behind the kitchen after coming home from a busy day at work. For me, midweek meal has to be quick to prepare, using whatever ingredients I have in the fridge, and it shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes to cook, so I can spend the rest of my evening relaxing in front of TV.
But what to cook? I hear you. I am like you, it’s very rarely for me to plan ahead on what to cook during midweek. Usually I will just see what’s in my pantry and the fridge then I will just throw something together. I normally will have some protein in my fridge, but I’ve been eating a lot of beef lately. It is a good source of iron and protein which helps to build muscles especially after my training session at the gym. Beef is one of the most versatile proteins to cook with. I do love a piece of steak now and again, but I also like beef in different cuts for different recipes. Beef lovers, you are in for a treat, here I have two simple recipes that you can easily whip up for your next midweek meals.
Beef steak fajitas
Who doesn’t love a bit of Mexican for dinner? A midweek meal can’t get any simpler than this, a DIY beef steak fajitas. There is very minimal cooking and takes no longer than 15 minutes. And the best part, you don’t even have to plate them up and let everyone to build them own fajitas. For this recipe, I have used flank steak which is commonly used for fajitas, but you can definitely substitute it with other cuts like skirt steak which has stronger flavour, or even scotch fillet, whatever you have in the fridge really.
Usually I will marinate the beef overnight and just take them out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature before cooking. But if you are time short, marinate it for half an hour will do. If there’s any leftover marinade, just mix it with 2 tablespoons of water and then simmer it in a frying pan to thicken up. Then pour the sauce over the beef once sliced. I like to serve the beef fajitas with some charred onion and capsicums, coriander, cheese and a dash of chilli sauce, but you’re more than welcome to add any toppings of your choice – lettuce, brown rice, black beans for instance. The possibilities are endless.
Beef steak Fajitas
Cooking time – 15 minutes
400g flank steak
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced into thin strips
1 green capsicum, sliced into thin strips
8 mini tortillas
a handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 packet (250g) grated cheddar cheese
Siracha chilli sauce, for serving
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Put flank steak and the marinade in a ziplock bag, seal then rub the marinade into the steak. Refrigerate and let it marinate until ready to cook, preferably overnight. When ready to cook, take the meat out of the refrigerator to bring it back to room temperature.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soften and translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in capsicums, cook for another 5 minutes until the capsicums start to charred on the edges.
Wrap tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven at low temperature (120C) for 10-15 minutes, or wrap in towel and warm in a microwave for 1 minute.
Heat a BBQ or grill over medium-high heat. Remove meat from marinade, cook it for 2-3 minutes each side, for medium rare. Remove steak to a cutting board, let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into strips.
To serve, place a tortilla on a plate, top with onion and capsicums then some beef strips. Garnish with coriander, sprinkle cheese over the top, then some chilli sauce.
Crispy Rainbow Steak
From time to time, I will have that sudden cravings for some cheap and cheerful Chinese takeaway food. And my favourite dish has to be the crispy rainbow steak, some restaurants call it shredded beef in peking sauce, but whatever name you want to call it, it is absolutely my guilty pleasure. I just love those thin strips of beef steak are so crispy, coated in that sweet and sour sauce that is so delicious and highly addictive. But little did you know that this dish is actually very easy to make at home.
I have used sirloin steak in this recipe, but minute steak will work just as fine since it is already thinly sliced. The trick is to get the beef strips as thin as possible, so it stays crispy once fried up. Once the beef is cooked, the rest is easy. All you need to do is mixing up the sauce ingredients and simmering until thickens up, then toss the beef strips in it. Now all you need is a big bowl of steamed rice to go with it.
Crispy rainbow steak
Cooking time – 30 minutes
400g sirloin steak
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
vegetable oil, for frying
1 carrot, grated
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Pound the steak to half centimetre thick, then slice into thin strips. Place the beef strips in a large bowl, add soy sauce and mix well. Sprinkle cornstarch over the beef. Use both hands, toss the beef until well coated. Add more cornstarch if needed.
Fill a wok with oil until half full and heat the oil to 180C (355F). In batches, fry the beef strips until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Mix all the remaining sauce ingredients together and pour into the wok, stir and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a very thick consistency, about 3-5 minutes. Add the beef strips, stir and toss until evenly coated. Add carrot, spring onion and sesame seeds, stir to combine then transfer to a serving plate.
Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.