I love Thai food, at least my Polish American version of it. A real Thai person, cooking real Thai food, would probably be horrified, but my family tells me that what they taste from my kitchen shares flavors with what we taste when we eat at our favorite restaurant (one of those hole-in-the-wall, really ugly on the outside but amazing food, always, on the table), so if they’re happy, I’m happy.
As with any stir-fry dish, most of the time you spend making this involves chopping the ingredients. The actual cooking is fast and furious, and if you have everything ready beforehand within easy reach, you’ll feel like a professional Polish-American chef deftly creating mock Thai food.
Thai Stir Fry Steak Salad — recipe makes four decent-sized dinner salads
2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice, and tossed turmeric in the water with the salt and oil; if you don’t have turmeric, don’t worry, but consider buying some — it’s not very expensive — to have on hand to add to chicken, fish, and rice dishes)
6 Tablespoons oil (I used light olive, but coconut would be delicious), divided
1 Tablespoon Mae Ploy Red Curry paste (if you’re in the Walla Walla area, the Asian Oriental store carries this and other terrific products for Asian cooking)
1 head red or green lettuce — cut into ribbons (NOT ice berg — if you don’t get your lettuce from Deer Pond Gardens or your Farmer’s Market, look for the leafy green stuff, preferably organic, spray-free, and chemical-free — remember how “they” used to say, “You are what you eat”? Isn’t it funny how we don’t hear that much anymore?)
4 ounces Kale, cut into ribbons
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 x 2 piece of ginger root, peeled and grated (if you’ve never used ginger before, give it a try — the fresh stuff imparts a distinctive taste; if you don’t have it, don’t not make the dish)
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
8 ounces red meat, cut into small, 1/2 inch pieces (you can use more meat if you want; mine was organic, grass fed, and I wanted to make a little stretch a long way)
3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon (you can get this at Costco)
1/2 of a 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup green onions
Cilantro, one bunch, chopped
For the dressing:
6 ounces mild olive oil
3 ounces lemon juice
3 Tablespoons sugar
small handful of cilantro, chopped
reduced beef/tomato juice mixture from cooking the meat
Divide the ribboned lettuce onto four plates.
While the rice is cooking, chop and prepare all of your vegetables, and arrange them in bowls or on small plates so that you can toss them into the wok or frying pan as you go.
Heat three tablespoons of the oil, over high heat, in a saute pan or wok. When hot, add the curry paste and stir quickly for 20 seconds. Toss in the sliced onions and coat with the curry paste. Stir quickly for 2 minutes.
Add the Kale and stir fry 2-3 minutes, quickly, until wilted. Add the green onions and stir 30 seconds more.
Spoon the hot stir fry mixture over the greens on the plates. Divide the rice and arrange it on top of the vegetables.
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot. Toss in the garlic and ginger, stir 20 seconds, then add meat and toss quickly for 30 seconds. Add the water and the one tablespoon bouillon and stir until the bouillon is dissolved. Add the tomatoes. Toss until the meat is cooked.
With a slotted spoon, scoop out the meat and tomatoes and toss them over the vegetables and rice on the salad plates. Return the pan to the heat, turn the heat down to medium high, and let the liquid reduce by cooking for 1 minute more.
To make the dressing, combine the oil, sugar, lemon juice, cilantro, and reduced beef/tomato juice. With a wire whisk or immersion blender, combine until the oil is thoroughly blended and the mixture is emulsified.
Divide over the salads. Garnish with cilantro.