Tested and Perfected by Food and Wine

Seared Tri-Tip Steak with Asian Black-Bean Rice Cakes

  • ACTIVE: 35 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • MAKE-AHEAD

Douglas Keane and his sous-chefs Drew Glassell and Rachel Sillcocks created this Asian-inspired steak dish during a backyard barbecue last summer. They used homemade hoisin sauce (dark soy sauce, black-bean paste, ginger, brown sugar, sesame oil, lime juice and a number of spices), but a high-quality store-bought Chinese brand like Lee Kum Kee is a good substitute. Keane opts for tri-tip steak (named for its triangular shape and cut from the bottom sirloin) because it is inexpensive and flavorful; plus it stays tender when cooked with high heat. It is available at butcher shops and many supermarkets.

  1. 1/2 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
  2. 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  3. 1 cup water
  4. Kosher salt
  5. 1 cup sushi or other short-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  6. 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  7. 3 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and finely chopped
  8. 4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  9. One 2-pound tri-tip or sirloin steak (1 1/2 to 2 inches thick)
  10. Freshly ground pepper
  11. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  12. Hoisin sauce, for serving
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the mirin and vinegar with the water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt; bring to a boil. Add the rice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 22 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Stir in the minced ginger, black beans and sliced scallions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line six 1/2-cup ramekins or standard-size muffin cups with plastic wrap, then pack them with the warm rice and let cool.
  3. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the steak and cook over moderately high heat until well browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the steak to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the steak registers 130° for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet. Unmold the rice cakes and fry them over moderately high heat until they are golden brown and crisp, turning once, about 2 minutes. Thickly slice the steak against the grain and serve with the rice cakes and hoisin sauce.
Make Ahead The molded rice cakes can be refrigerated overnight. Unmold, then bring to room temperature and fry.

Suggested Pairing

Although Napa Valley is California's premier Cabernet region, Sonoma's Alexander Valley runs a close second, producing Cabernets typically marked by distinct black cherry fruit—ideal with this juicy steak.