I’ve been working on the mango part of this for awhile. The first time was with pork, but it wasn’t a success. But this time, the whole dish came together!
The idea in this particular line of meat dishes I’ve been doing is to contrast the rich, chewy meatiness of beef, lamb or pork – with sharp, hot, and slightly sweet fruity taste that makes you end each bite, with soft gasp for more. That’s a tall order, for sure. For one, sharp tastes can over power, and then while the dish may still be tasty, it won’t be memorable – it will end up like every other over sauced South Asian or American Chinese dish you’ve had. So subtly is also important, and since I have a difficult to control sweet tooth, that’s some times hard.
Its also harder with paws, but that’s a whole another thing.
In the pineapple wasabi lamb, the sharp taste works as a glaze, which clings to the outside of the cubes of meat, layering each bite with a hot, sweet tingle and then a full, rich meaty core. In the Beef dish I did today, the tastes are kept separate, and the diner is invited to mix between the two, just we do with a chutney when we eat rice and curry.
For the beef, I started with 500g of cubed beef, which I seasoned with one teaspoon of salt, fresh ground pepper, teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, and two teaspoons of brown sugar. After about an hour, I browned in the beef in a caste iron skillet, deglazed with arrack, added water, to about half away, and let it simmer for two hours.
Then I had a beer.
Later, (obviously – one must never cut anything right after a beer J ). I peeled a sour, that is half ripe, mango, and sliced one half of it length ways, and then mixed one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of white sugar, and a teaspoon of red chillie pieces (not power), and reduced in down with the mango. I did this in the microwave one time (3 mins on hi-700w), and another time in a heavy bottomed pan. Basically, you’ve got it get it boiled down, but not burned. Taste for balance. If you like it subtler, keep to the proportions, but add less of every thing.
Once that was almost ready, I stir fried, in the tiny bit of sesame oil, 150g of the well cooked beef, with two teaspoons of black bean sauce. You can do the beef well before hand, and then refrigerate it. It will taste even better the next day!
Then I scalded the sliced leeks, in salted water for a minute, and plated it.
Moving between the succulent, yet lightly flavored beef and the hot, sweet, sour and still meaty mango was marvelous. I've blogged about chillie mango before, and it is as any school child in Sri Lanka knows, some thing to die for, especially when its half ripe.
The leeks gave the whole thing a nice, crunchy punctuation – with of course, a hint, a vague hint, of onion.