Or lettuce wraps, or low carb tacos, or whatever.
HAPPY MONDAY! Here’s your answer to a Monday: highly flavorful, super tender beef, wrapped in veggies because health, but steak because sometimes we need steak on a Monday.
I’ve talked a ton here about how Jay and I love Korean BBQ, we even went out just the two of us on Christmas Day this year for Korean BBQ in San Diego while Beck napped. It was a fun and strange date, and we had a great time. The combo of sweet+spice+salt+tang all in one marinade is just more than I can manage, and I’ve been playing around with a few variations recently that we’ve used over beef. This particular version is a super thinly sliced ribeye marinated in a Korean-style sauce that we make in the blender so it takes zero time. Then the beef is seared in a HOT skillet (or on a grill!) for just a minute or two, then we load it up into lettuce boats with some extra veggies and avocado for creaminess.
The result was just PERFECT. I made this for lunch on Saturday and we both loved it so much. I’ve also used the beef over a salad, but I think it would be great over rice with stir fried veggies or in regular tacos because OBVIOUSLY. Some of my favorite taco places have a Korean-style taco, and I get it every single time without fail.
There is really nothing to these – they come together so quickly and are super delicious. They AREN’T strictly low carb because there is soy sauce in the recipe (I subbed liquid aminos for Jay) and a little bit of sugar, which honestly the dish needs. But, there isn’t a ton of sugar and this definitely fits a low carb diet, and in general meals served in and under veggies are a good idea, even if there is a little bit of sugar involved.
I’m like a damn broken record with the “it’s finally cold, need cozy food” repetition, but heartier foods all of a sudden taste so much more satisfying, comforting, necessary. Speaking of comforting, this dish finds a way to cram potatoes, naan, and rice into a single meal without it feeling terribly indulgent (Jay is like, yes it does please stop), and I’m not mad about it one little bit.
This curry is a total knockoff of my brother in law Joe’s mother Ruby’s standard, this-is-what-we-always-eat curry. Jay’s sister Elizabeth and Joe have been together since long before I was around and got married just a few months before we did, so I’ve been lucky enough to eat Ruby’s curry on several occasions. I’m not going to talk about what type of curry this is, because Ruby is Indian (but I don’t know where in India she is from and there are a gazillion regions of cuisine to factor in here) AND has lived many places in her life, so I’m calling this a fusion curry. For the purpose of using actual words to describe food, it is a Madras curry, very mild but very flavorful, stewed for several hours with tomato paste until beef chunks fall apart like any good stewed beef does.
So, you’ll imagine my disappointment when I made the plan to cook this and discovered that I had used all of my Madras curry powder but also the time to cook was NOW because of nap time and daylight. So I improvised, making this an even more fusiony curry than the usual fusion Ruby rocks. The spice blend that I used is an equal combination of garam masala and yellow curry powder, and I alllllmost couldn’t tell a difference besides obviously that I’m not an Indian mom and my curry will never be as good as one.
But, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks from my sister in law and Joe, who blessedly texted me through this whole process, and the approximation we’re left with here is still damn good. So let’s curry!
BECAUSE FALL SO ORANGE EVERYTHING.
Finally it is less than 90 degrees here, which means I’ve been freezing for most of the day, no joke. It was in the mid 80’s all weekend, hit 90 more than once last week, and tonight is going to drop down to 47F, riddle me that. The temperature drop has made me wrestle internally with Beck’s sleeping situation; she’s old enough for blankets but I have irrational fears of EVERYTHING killing her, so is a sleep sack and our favorite jammies enough? The answer is of course yes because she 1. doesn’t sleep outside and 2. sleeps perfectly soundly all night long, but that doesn’t stop me from ruminating on the subject for no reason at all.
So we need some lentils to warm us up and to help us sleep better? Nice transition there.
These lentils are so legit, though. Indian food is one of our absolute favorites in almost any form; we eat something with Indian flavors (which is a huge range, luckily for me) at least once a week, and one of our favorite things to do on super busy nights is to order Indian takeout knowing that we’ll have a delicious dinner asap and leftovers for a day or two. Curry reheats well, is my point.
These lentils are similarly comforting, but don’t include any meat or animal products. I use chicken stock to make mine, but you can make this dish entirely vegan if you use vegetable stock instead. The spices in the lentils make the entire dish taste so warm, and the lentils I have cooked in 15 minutes or so, so the end result of the dish felt very slow-cooked and cozy while just taking a few minutes. I love these alone with cilantro and a lime wedge, but with rice, naan, or as part of a larger Indian meal would be really perfect as well.
Because stir fry sauces are honestly just unnecessary.
Here’s how my life works: I’ll go months and months with making lots of healthy foods, have hardly anything processed in my house, then go to Trader Joe’s when I’m super tired or hungry and be like I NEED CANNED TIKKA MASALA. Not that there is anything wrong with this thought, but I’m perfectly capable of making it myself, usually have all of the ingredients on hand, and enjoy cooking. It just hits me sometimes that I want premade stuff. Currently I have TWO jars of premade curry sauce in my pantry from two different stores that will probably sit there for 6 months because I can’t remember for 2 days that I’ve purchased something. Luckily I have two.
All that to say….I don’t ever buy stir fry sauces. I think they serve a place in the world, but I find that making stir fry is so quick and easy that it’s just not worth the extra cost or space in the cabinet to keep sauces around. I love chopping up veggies, whisking sauce together, and seeing dinner finished so quickly because the veggies are just barely cooked so they stay crisp, and the sauce thickens almost immediately from cornstarch.
This particular sauce is very basic in preparation and taste. When I made it the last time, Jay said “this is not a bad thing…but this tastes just like takeout.” I consider this a compliment because no matter how big of a health game we talk everyone secretly loves Chinese takeout, right? Don’t deny me this belief, I can’t be alone in this. But Chinese takeout is one of those things that we eat very rarely for health reasons, so having a similar sauce that you can make super quickly is helpful to curb the sodium cravings.