Asian Inspired Crispy Ginger Bison
If you've stayed away from Asian cooking because it requires too many strange ingredients and processes, this recipe is for you. It has all the great Asian flavors, but is simple to prepare and relies primarily on ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. It's easy, it's fun, it's rich with flavors you don't usually put together, and it's inexpensive to prepare. So with that in mind, here's what you need to get started on the road to Asian inspired ginger bison. Ingredients: Marinade: 3 Tbs. Honey At Intermountain Bison, we like raw, organic honey, but whatever you have will work. Fresh Ginger You're going to want to use on the order of 1-2 Tbs. of ginger that has been cut into matchstick sized pieces. If you're not sure whether you like ginger, start small and build up. Ginger has a strong flavor and it can quickly overpower your meal. 2 Tbs. Vinegar The original recipe uses rice wine vinegar. If you don't have this, white vinegar will work fine. Red Pepper Flakes These are the same peppers you put on your pizza and everything else. Again, if you like it spicy, a tablespoon or two wouldn't be too much. If you're a little more timid, try a teaspoon. Like the ginger, start small and build up. Remember, when you cook those peppers they're going to release capsaicin (which is what makes peppers hot) and they're going to get hotter. 5 Tbs. Soy Sauce Be sure to always buy a good brand of soy sauce (like Kikkoman). You're probably going to have it in your fridge for 5 years or more, so don't force yourself to eat poor quality soy sauce for the rest of your life. The difference in price between the good stuff and the cheap stuff is fifty cents to a dollar. Ground Cumin If you can freshly grind the cumin seeds it will have a much earthier flavor. If you grind fresh, try 1 tsp. If you're using pre-ground, try 1.5 - 2 tsp. Main Dish Ingredients: 1 - 2 lbs. Bison Sirloin You can use any cut of bison, really, but sirloin works perfectly. Slice the bison into pieces about the size of shoestring french fries. We're not going to cook this for very long, so we don't want it to be really thick. If you have a sharp knife, this will be easy. If not, put the meat in the freezer for 20 - 30 minutes and it will slice easier. You don't want it frozen, just tempered. 4 - 6 Green Onions You really can't get too many green onions. They add great color and they add a great flavor. Slice them diagonally in 1 inch pieces. 2 - 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic Slice this garlic as thin as you dare. Again, this isn't going to be in the pan for long, so we don't want it too thick. And no, you can't use garlic powder, garlic salt, bottled garlic, etc. Use fresh garlic. 2 Tbs. Fresh Ginger Peel the ginger and cut it into matchstick sized pieces. Don't get carried away. Like the marinade, start small and build. 2 - 3 Hot Chili Peppers You can use whatever you like: jalapenos, serranos, whatever. If you can find red ones they add a nice color. But remember that red peppers are hotter, so add accordingly. Like everything else, these are cut into matchstick sized pieces and cooked. 2 - 3 Tbs. Oil You can use any vegetable oil for this recipe. Traditional recipes would use peanut oil or sesame oil, but you can use whatever vegetable oil you have. Don't use olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil, it has a distinct flavor that is decidedly not Asian.) 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro This is for garnish, but it adds a bright flavor that really compliments the rest of the dish. Chop it coarsely. 1 Tbs. Cornstarch Use whatever you have. Nothing special with this. Instructions: Start by taking the marinade ingredients and whisking them together in a large bowl. Add the bison and stir until all the pieces of meat are thoroughly coated in the marinade and place in the fridge for 4 - 8 hours. To get ready to cook, you'll want to create a cornstarch slurry with 1 Tbs. cornstarch and 2 Tbs. water. Set that aside. Get the bison out of the fridge and remove from the marinade. Heat the oil until it is very hot (you want the oil to be just below the point where it's about to start smoking.) Add the bison to the hot oil and stir fry. This pan is hot and you have to keep the meat moving. After cooking not more than 1 minute, remove bison from the oil and set aside. Next, put the chiles, and garlic into the hot pan. Cook that no more than 30 - 40 seconds and add the ginger and cook for another 30 - 40 seconds. Then add the bison back in along with the cornstarch slurry. Remove the pan from the stove and continue to stir fry the ingredients for 1 more minute then pour into a serving dish. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve with rice. This is a fast and furious cooking project. One minute passes in the blink of an eye so you have to have everything ready to go before you add anything to the pan to begin with. This is a great recipe with great flavors. The sweetness of the honey and the savory bison are an awesome compliment to each other. Add the pungent aroma of garlic and heat from the chiles and you have a dish fit for a king. Let us know in the comments below how you liked our ginger beef recipe and what changes, if any you made in the original recipe. Happy cooking!