About five years ago, I made an Asian noodle salad recipe which called for hoisin sauce. I hadn't ever cooked with it before, but as soon as I tasted it, it made me think of Peking Duck , Moo Shu Pork, and those incredibly flavorful Chinese spareribs. It was sort of an "Aha!" moment for me, in the context of "Aha! So that's the distinct flavor which is so common in Chinese cuisine, but which I could never put my finger on!"
Hoisin sauce (rhymes with poison--sorry, I know that's not the best word to rhyme with when discussing a recipe, but I couldn't think of another one) is soy based and often is used in barbecuing, marinades, and stir-fry dishes. The ingredients in a typical bottle of hoisin sauce are soybean paste, garlic, vinegar, honey, chili peppers, and sesame oil, but there are several different variations. The texture is that of a thick sauce and the flavor is sweet, salty, and spicy. Some people might find the flavor to be a little too strong, so you might need to dilute it with water or oil. I personally love it, and ever since making that noodle recipe, I always have a bottle on hand in the refrigerator (you can find it in the Asian foods section of the grocery store.)
This is the perfect recipe to make for a last-minute casual dinner party or an easy weeknight meal. It doesn't require much of your time to put together, it cooks very quickly, and it presents beautifully. The sweet and juicy oranges are a nice complement to the marinated beef, and grilling fruit always brings out a nice caramelized flavor. Serve the kebabs over rice or couscous with a side of steamed broccolini for a complete meal! Here are a few tips for this recipe:
- If you have the time, marinate the steak for an hour in the hoisin orange sauce. It will result in a deeper flavor.
- This recipe works equally well when you substitute chicken, lamb, pork, or even tuna steaks for the tenderloin.
- If you a making this for people who are not fans of spicy foods, then reduce the chili powder to 1 tablespoon (or eliminate it altogether.)
- If you only have wooden skewers as opposed to metal, be sure to soak them in water for one hour prior to grilling the kebabs.
Grilled Steak Kebabs with Hoisin-Orange Glaze
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest from one large orange
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin steaks, cut into about 20 cubes
3 orange slices, cut 1/3 inch thick
Chopped scallions (green onions)
Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the orange juice concentrate, hoisin sauce, chili powder, olive oil, and orange peel in a medium bowl and then season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Place the beef in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup sauce to the beef and toss well. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut each orange slice into 6 wedges. Alternate 5 beef cubes and 4 orange wedges on each of the 4 metal skewers.
Grill the kebabs to the desired doneness, brushing with more sauce and turning occasionally, about 10 minutes for medium-rare.
Place 1 skewer on each of 4 plates and sprinkle with the chopped green onions. Serve the kebabs with the remaining sauce.