Vegetables, Asian flavors sparkle in satisfying end-of-summer meal

08/27/2013 12:00 AM

08/27/2013 7:53 PM

This column was first published in 2010.

Grilling offers the perfect opportunity to lighten up. The Star’s

Asian Beef Skewers With Rice Noodle Vegetable Salad

is a healthy yet satisfying end-of-summer meal.

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Shopping tips:

Rice sticks are flat rice noodles, similar in shape to linguine. They cook quickly and can become mushy if overcooked. If other shapes or sizes of rice noodles are used, prepare according to package directions. If desired, substitute linguine for rice sticks. For testing, we used Sun Luck Phad Thai Rice Sticks and Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Rice Noodles, as well as A Taste of Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce

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Cooking tips:

Beef will slice more easily if cold; freeze raw beef for about 30 minutes before slicing. Soaking the skewers in water helps prevent the skewers from charring or burning while grilling.

Unpeeled cucumber adds color and fiber.

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Serving tip:

Beef skewers also make a great appetizer. Prepare as directed, but omit noodle-vegetable salad. Drizzle with any remaining broth-soy mixture just before serving.

Asian Beef Skewers With Rice Noodle-Vegetable Salad Makes 6 servings 1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless sirloin steak, cut about 3/4-inch thick 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon minced ginger root 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 carrot, shredded 1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 1/2 cup chopped red onion 2 tablespoons minced cilantro 8 ounces uncooked rice sticks (see cooking tip) 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons peanut or canola oil

Place 18 (8-inch) wooden skewers in water and allow to soak about 30 minutes.

Slice beef into strips, about 1/4-by-3-inches. Place beef strips in a small bowl.

Combine beef broth, soy sauce, chili sauce, sugar, ginger and garlic; stir to blend well.

Pour 1/4 cup of sauce over the beef. Toss to coat meat evenly, cover and refrigerate 15 minutes. Set remaining broth-soy mixture aside.

Combine carrot, cucumber, pepper, red onion and cilantro in a large bowl. Heat a pan of water to boiling. Add rice sticks and boil 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and add to vegetables. Measure out 1/4 cup of reserved broth-soy mixture and combine it with lime juice and oil; drizzle over vegetables and noodles; toss well.

Preheat grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Drain beef and discard marinade. Thread strips of beef evenly onto skewers. Cook beef skewers over direct, medium-high heat, in an uncovered grill, about 2 minutes per side or until browned and cooked to medium. Brush with remaining broth-soy mixture frequently while cooking. (Do not overcook beef.)

Arrange rice noodle-vegetable salad in a deep platter. Arrange hot beef skewers over salad.

Per (1 cup noodle salad, 3 ounces cooked beef or about 3 skewers) serving: 357 calories (24 percent from fat), 9 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 59 milligrams cholesterol, 41 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 271 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

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