Hmong Beef with Tomatoes Stir Fry [Nqaij Nyuj Kib Xyaw Txiv Lws Suav]
Adapted from Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America

1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 pound flank steak or other beef, sliced into bite-sized pieces [see Kitchen Notes]
2 jalapeņo peppers, thinly sliced [see Kitchen Notes]
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt [plus additional, if needed]
1/4 teaspoon each, cumin and dried thyme [see Kitchen Notes]
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 green onions, green and white parts, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped [see Kitchen Notes]
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

cooked white rice, either jasmine or long-grain

Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add oil. When it starts to shimmer, add meat, peppers, fish sauce, salt, cumin and thyme.
Toss to combine and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and green onions and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add cilantro, black pepper and tomatoes cook until tomatoes are just heated through and have released their juices. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Kitchen Notes
Choosing and slicing the beef. The recipe calls simply for lean beef. Looking at various stir fry recipes, I saw flank steak mention a lot. When it is
thinly sliced across the grain, it is flavorful and tender. I also saw various other steaks mentioned, and in some markets, you.ll find thinly sliced
beef for stir frying. All are acceptable choices. If you.re slicing your own beef for this recipe, put the meat in the freezer for about 30 minutes
first. It will make it slightly firmer and easier to slice thin. I sliced the flank steak across the grain into slices between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch
thick. I then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces. With really tender steaks like filet mignon, you can cut the meat into cubes, if you like.

Adjusting the heat. Hmong cooks like their food fiery. This recipe called for two hot Thai chili peppers. I took that to mean Bird.s Eye chili peppers,
some of the hottest peppers out there. They clock in at 50,000 to 100,000 on the Scoville scale, a little cooler than the scary Scotch Bonnet, but
considerably hotter than the jalapeņo peppers I used, which register at a modest 2,500 to 8,000. I used two medium-sized peppers, seeds and all, which
gave the dish a nice healthy dose of heat. If you like yours a little cooler, remove some of the seeds and inner ribs.that.s where the heat is. If you
think you can take the heat, go for the Bird.s Eye peppers. Report back to me, if you do.

Adding flavor notes with herbs and spices. Hmong cooking, at least based on this book and some other things we.ve read, is big on heat and simple
freshness. They don.t tend to use a lot of herbs and spices. Interestingly, though [and perhaps it's just in the Hmong-American kitchen, not in Asian
kitchens, where a whole different range of ingredients is readily available], prepared flavorings pop up often. MSG, in particular, and bouillon cubes,
to name a couple. You.ll also see this in New Orleans cooking.garlic powder and onion powder, for instance. This recipe called for a tablespoon of Mrs.
Dash seasoning. Instead of this, I added the clove of garlic and the cumin and dried thyme. Probably a different flavor than the Mrs. Dash would have
provided, but I liked how the freshness and individual flavors of each ingredient came through. And unlike many Chinese dishes, there was no single
starring flavor.they all worked in harmony.

Pile on the cilantro. We love cilantro. So when I saw this recipe called for a half a bunch of the stuff, I got excited. The original recipe calls for
cutting it into 3-inch pieces. I cut off the stems at the base of the bunch and then just sliced the leafy top section into thirds. As someone who
usually picks the leaves from the stems and chops them, this was totally freeing. and delicious.

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