The rice cooks in coconut milk - the thin kind you drink, not the one that's thick and canned and more caloric.
The emphasis is also on fast: Quickly seared beef, quick dressing and quickly pickled red onion go into the mix, along with a bright chile pepper and loads of fresh mint and cilantro.
The steak called for here is flank steak or London broil. A bowlful offers tastes of salty, sweet and bright heat.
COCONUT RICE AND THAI BEEF
Look for an unflavored coconut milk beverage in the refrigerated case at the grocery store.
For the dish
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon jasmine rice (may substitute white long-grain rice)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
• 7 ounces coconut milk (from a refrigerated carton, not full-fat from a can; see headnote)
• 3 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1/4 medium red onion or 1/2 small red onion
• One 7-ounce piece flank steak or London broil, about 3/4-inch thick
• Sunflower oil
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 small bunch Thai basil (may substitute green/Genovese basil)
• Leaves from 4 to 6 cilantro stems
For the dressing
• 1 Thai chile pepper
• 1 clove garlic
• 1/2 lime
• Pinch sugar
• 1 tablespoon (faux) fish sauce
For the dish: Combine the rice, a pinch of salt and the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover and let the pot sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the vinegar, sugar, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the water in a medium bowl. Cut the onion into very thin slices, then add to the bowl, making sure they're submerged.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill pan over high heat. Rub the steak with a little oil, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, so the steak is pink at the center (medium-rare; 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). Transfer to a cutting board to rest.
Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork.
Drain the onion slices and discard all their liquid except for 2 tablespoons, which you'll place in a large liquid measuring cup (for the dressing).
For the dressing: Stem and seed the chile pepper, then cut crosswise into very thin slices; add to the cup. Crush and mince the garlic and add to the cup. Squeeze a tablespoon of juice from the lime half, then add the sugar and fish sauce, stirring to incorporate.
Coarsely chop the Thai basil and cilantro leaves. Uncover the rice; add those herbs to the rice, then pour the dressing over and toss gently to incorporate.
Cut the meat into thin slices or bite-size chunks, as you like.
Divide the dressed rice and meat between individual bowls. Top each portion with some of the quick-pickled onion. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Nutrition | Per serving: 480 calories, 26 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1,150 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar