Beef Kebabs with Soy Sauce, Cumin and Orange Zest

Beef Kebabs with Soy Sauce, Cumin and Orange Zest

Excerpted from Cooking New American by The Editors of Fine Cooking (The Taunton Press, 2004). © 2004 by The Editors of Fine Cooking. Used with permission of the publisher.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large clove garlic, very finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-3/4 pounds boneless rib-eye steak, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch cubes
Sprigs of fresh cilantro or mint
Plain yogurt (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar and soy sauce. Whisk in the garlic, spices, lemon juice, and orange zest, and gradually whisk in the olive oil.

2. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Toss the beef cubes in the bowl with the rest of the marinade and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

3. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill. Skewer the cubes, leaving a little space between each cube so they'll cook all around. Grill, turning the skewers to brown on all sides to the point of slight charring, for about 8 minutes for medium rare.

4. Push the meat off the skewers and onto plates, drizzle with the reserved 2 tablespoons marinade, and garnish with cilantro or mint sprigs and a spoonful of yogurt, if you like.

LYNNE'S TIPS

Explore Asian markets for quality soy sauce. In Japanese markets you might find Mansan Tamari Shoyu (Japanese for "soy sauce"). This is the Boeuf Bourguignon of soy sauces. It will remind you of browned meats, red wine and aromatics. This sauce stands on its own as a condiment and dip. The Corti Brothers of Sacramento, California import it.

Old reliables which are easier to find include the Chinese Pearl River Bridge or, better yet, Pearl River Bridge Gold Label, and the ubiquitous Japanese Kikkoman.
Those same Asian markets could stock white and black cumin seeds as well as the usual beige ones. The black are peppery, the white more delicate, and the beige are like a blend of caraway and lemon. Grinding in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle brings up gorgeous flavors.
If it's worth grilling over fired coals, it's worth using wood charcoal. It burns clean, with no petroleum by-products and lends a nice depth to whatever is on the grill.