Monday, May 9, 2011

Quinoa Satay

No, this is not a post with quinoa somehow impaled on a skewer. Rather it is the use of leftover beef satay, served over quinoa with red spring onion and broccoli*.

I love Thai satay of all kinds: chicken, shrimp, beef - all are tasty, and all would work in this dish. (Just use the chicken stock if you make it with chicken or shrimp, rather than the beef stock I use here.) When I order-in, I frequently get extra orders just so I can have leftovers. And while meat on a stick is very tasty and can make a quick protein snack, this is a way to make a more rounded out meal out of your leftover satay.

*Yes, I make a lot of dishes with broccoli. I happen to really like broccoli, it's very healthy, and I can usually get 2 bunches for about $2-3, so it's a fairly cheap vegetable for how many servings it yields as well. Subsitute whatever you like. Snow peas, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, bok choy, or bamboo shoots would all go very well in this dish as well.

I start by steaming a bit of broccoli for 2-3 minutes in a few TBSP of water with a pinch of salt. When I remove the lid, most of the water has already boiled/evaporated away, so I add a generous splash of olive oil, reduce the heat to medium, and this time threw in some chopped red spring onion. 

Sadly, that is not a ramp, just a spring onion I chose for it's lovely color, and to add a bit more flavor to the dish. It has more kick than a scallion, but is milder than an onion, like a shallot.
Cook with some of the white/red bulb base, finely sliced, and finely chop some of the green scallion-like tops for garnish.

Since I was just cooking for myself, I only used one satay skewer (even tho I show 2 here.) Removing the beef from the stick, I then slice each piece into more manageable bites.

Toss your meat of choice in with the broccoli and onion (which has cooked down a bit) and add just enough of the matching stock (in this case beef) to cover the bottom of the pan.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high to reduce.
The point of the stock is that it will rehydrate and heat through the slightly tired leftover beef, and also allow the wonderful seasonings on the outside of the meat to flavor the vegetables as well, and create a very small amount of sauce.

By now my quinoa has finished cooking. As always, rinse it very well in a fine mesh strainer before cooking it, and I season (this was 1/2 cup dry) with about a tablespoon or so of standard cooking olive oil (you don't want a super fruity flavor competing here) and salt to taste. The salt I add to the water at the start of cooking, and the olive oil I add when there is barely any liquid still covering the cooking quinoa.

I use the quinoa as a base and then pour the rest of the dish and minimal sauce over the top.
Start to finish this is another healthy 15 minute meal.
If you make it for a group it might take a bit longer, only because you would be using more liquid in the last stage of cooking and so it would take a bit longer to reduce down, but even then it probably only takes 20 minutes.
If you know the secrets to the seasonings on a Thai satay dish, by all means add a bit when you add your meat of choice. I can only guess one or two, so I just let the ample flavor that is already there dilute a bit into the sauce, and it still comes out very tasty.

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