There is something oddly satisfying about buying such obscure produce at the grocery store that you stump the cashier.
Granted, I was only buying napa cabbage. I probably shouldn’t be as proud as he should be a little embarrassed, but still.
My point is that even though napa cabbage is somewhat less than obscure these days, it felt like an accomplishment to purchase something other than the brussels sprouts, broccoli, artichokes and carrots that fill my shopping basket 98% of the time.
Just give me this one.
Anyway, the motivation for this particular purchase was this:
I bought this ground beef a few weeks ago and froze it because, not surprisingly, I couldn’t think of what I wanted to make with it.
This frequently happens when I buy meat. Maybe it’s that I don’t buy it often and I feel like it has to be an event or something. Sad, but true.
Anyway, I decided to defrost it yesterday, thinking that I’d make something Mexican like tacos or an enchilada casserole or something for dinner.
And then I lost my motivation.
And now I’m not in the mood for Mexican.
After I did a little brainstorming, I decided that the beef would have an Asian flare tonight, hence the cabbage.
I’d say that this was inspired by such-and-such a dish, but it’s really more a result of me googling “Thai ground beef” for about an hour and taking ideas from about 540 recipes.
My research methods are very fancy, I know.
Thai Style Coconut Beef
1 lb ground beef (I used 80/20, but a leaner variety would actually work better here)
1 small head napa cabbage (or green cabbage), shredded
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 15 oz can light coconut milk
1 T sriracha (or to taste)
1 T fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 medium scallion, finely sliced on bias
cilantro, for garnish
1. In a deep skillet, cook beef over medium heat, breaking up into very small pieces with a wooden spoon. Once browned, remove to a separate plate.
2. In same skillet, add onion, cabbage and garlic and saute until onion is translucent but before it begins to brown.
3. Add coconut milk, sriracha, fish sauce, soy sauce, and red pepper to skillet and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and add beef back to skillet.
4. Cook until all vegetables are tender and most of the coconut milk has been absorbed. Stir in scallions and remove from heat.
5. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
I make no pretense as to this being authentic in any way. Really, the only thing dish that I make for which I can vouch authenticity is my Norwegian meatballs.
I’m also not going to lie to you and tell you that I don’t make Asian-style dishes as often as I do partly as an excuse to use my nifty noodle bowl.
And I also realize that this isn’t a particularly attractive dish.
But it tastes good and that’s what matters, right?