Growing up in my teeny-tiny hometown in Massachusetts, there was basically one kind of “ethnic” food you could find, outside of an endless string of pizza shops: Chinese. By the time I was twelve or thirteen, a Thai restaurant appeared, and I couldn’t tell for the life of me if it had been there for a while or if I was just discovering it.
And then, just over ten years later, I moved to Seattle, where Asian food is everywhere–and downright amazing. It was one of the best parts of moving: the Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese…And this was the middle of the food truck boom where you could find authentic food for under $10 in just about every area of the city. It was amazing.
These spicy Korean beef tacos are inspired by some of my favorite (and the most delicious) asian fusion food trucks in Seattle, with tender slices of sweet-meets-spicy skirt steak. I love the idea of putting Korean-marinated beef into Mexican-style tacos because it just makes my everyday tacos so much more interesting.
If you haven’t tried Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe, you have to. It’s not only a superfood (reason enough to give it a go!), but it has this distinct sharpness, and it adds such a refreshing contrast to bold flavors like this marinade. I like this veggie more and more every time I cook with it.
The key to really learning to love broccoli rabe, though, is blanching it quickly (before sauteing, grilling, roasting, etc…). That quick 2 minute plunge in simmering water removes a little of the natural bitterness in it, without overcooking it or removing the nice punch of flavor it offers a dish.
3 teaspoons vegetable oil (or any high-heat oil you like)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced or chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped into 1-inch pieces
8 small corn tortillas
In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, chili paste, garlic, and scallion. Add half of the marinade to a large resealable plastic bag, along with the beef. Squeeze as much air from the bag as you can, seal the bag, and gently toss to coat the beef in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
To the remainder of the marinade in the bowl, add the cornstarch and whisk well until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until bright green and just tender, 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the broccoli rabe and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Remove the beef from the marinade, discard the remaining marinade, and add the beef slices to the skillet in a single layer. Cook until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the beef to a plate. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet and swirl to coat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and broccoli rabe, and cook until just tender, 3 minutes. Add the reserved marinade (the half with cornstarch) and toss with the vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the vegetables, about 2 minutes. Return the steak to the pan, stir to combine with the vegetables and sauce, and remove the pan from heat.
Warm the tortillas: In a separate large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the tortillas (2 or 3 at a time) for 2 minutes, using tongs to flip them halfway.
To serve, divide the steak and vegetables among the tortillas (2 tacos per person) and serve with hot chili sauce if desired.
Nutrition Information & Notes:
Nutrition Information for 1 serving (2 tacos): Calories 439, Total Fat 16g, Sat Fat 4g, Carb 27g, Fiber 7g, Sugars 9g Protein 36g
Nutrition Information for 1 serving WITHOUT tortillas:
Calories 349, Total Fat 15g, Sat Fat 4g, Carb 11g, Fiber 5g, Sugars 8g, Protein 32g