Okay, so I've been on a bit of Asian kick as of late...don't know why, just have been. With that in mind, I had to satisfy the craving. What better way to make those flavors shine than in a taco? Here in Orlando, food trucks are finally making their way as a legitimate food scene. Long lines, sold out items and endless food truck reviews are proving that our mobile culinary craze can hold their own with the best of them. I can't help but take note to one truck in particular The Korean Taco Box. It's a Korean BBQ style truck with an amazing spicy pork taco that I absolutely adore! I won't make this post about food trucks but wanted to mention the Taco Box, as it was a source for my inspiration. A few nights ago, I prepared Asian flank steak tacos topped with a chili lime slaw and side of garlicky grilled eggplant. I started by marinating my steak in paste of ginger, garlic, soy, a bit of sugar, crushed cilantro and red chiles. While my meat was marinating in the fridge I moved on the to slaw. I sliced thinly 1/2 head of cabbage and two carrots into a bowl. To the bowl I added the juice of two limes, splash of rice wine vinegar, dash of soy and a few drizzles of honey (I like just a touch of sweetness). You can add salt and pepper to taste, however if you are using this slaw to top a taco, you may not need anything extra with all of the other flavors surrounding it. I moved my slaw to the fridge after a few tosses and now it was on to the eggplant. I'll segue to say, although I'm able to get this all into one paragraph and make it seem so simple, it's important to note that it really was THAT simple! As I've mentioned in previous posts, good food doesn't have to take forever, it can be super quick. You just have to find the right pacing and ensure you've got all of your key ingredients. A dash of this and a bit of that...a little while later you're eating something you've created from scratch, healthy and delicious!
Back to my eggplant...I slice one eggplant thinly. When I make eggplant dishes sometimes I prefer to peel the skin, in this case I left it on. I sat the sliced veggies in a bowl of water as I created my mixture to dip each slice into prior to hitting the grill pan. Much like the sweet soy cod I made last week, I started by boiling down some soy sauce to a thicker glaze, blended with a bit of sesame oil and some brown sugar and honey. The difference in this blend was the addition of garlic. I found that adding one crushed clove to the party greatly enhanced the sauce in a big way. After about 15 minutes, I poured it into a shallow bowl to coat my eggplant. Patting each slice dry from the earlier water bath, they take a quick dip in the bowl and each slice hits the hot grill pan till browned on each side, this is a fast process (maybe a minute or two per side).
Finally it's showtime for the steak. I keep my grill pan hot and lay it down till I hear that sizzle. The smell...super intense from the infusion of freshly ground ginger and cilantro. Based on the thickness of the steak I know it'll only take about 6 minutes on the first side and maybe 3 more on the other. I favor the steak at a bright pink medium. Once the steak is complete, I transfer it to a wooden cutting board and cover it with some foil to rest. The resting process is the THE single most important thing when serving meat. Give it at least 10 minutes and you'll be amazed at the juices that will be locked in! As it rests, I prep the final additions for my taco toppings. Chopped cilantro, thin stalks of red pepper and hot chiles, scallions and water chestnuts for those who crave crunch. The last quick creation I needed, some sort of a sauce to replace what would be sour cream if we were eating a Mexican style taco. For my sauce, I blended a cup of plain yogurt and my very favorite...Sriracha. I gave a big shout out to this divine spicy condiment in my previous post. These two things married so well together, I cannot wait to use it again for another meal. All in all, another mouth watering dinner that I'll definitely be making again, next time for a crowd!