Korean-Style Beef & Cabbage Tacos

Korean-Style Beef & Cabbage Tacos

1 Review
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2014

This Korean-flavored steak tacos recipe uses cabbage in three ways: a crisp cabbage leaf acts as the shell, sautéed cabbage is part of the filling and pickled cabbage tops off the tacos. You can prepare most of the ingredients ahead, so all you have to do is assemble the steak tacos when you're ready to serve.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • 4 cups sliced napa cabbage (sliced crosswise)
  • ¾ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1½ tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons chile paste, such as sambal oelek
  • 1 pound skirt steak or flank steak, trimmed
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup brown basmati rice
  • ¼ teaspoon canola oil plus 1½ tablespoons, divided
  • 1 medium red cabbage
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger


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  1. To prepare pickled cabbage: Place napa cabbage in a large bowl. Combine ¾ cup rice vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon ginger, ½ teaspoon pepper, crushed red pepper and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the salt is dissolved, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Let cool for 2 minutes. Pour over the cabbage and stir well. Cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  2. To marinate steak: Combine soy sauce, ¼ cup vinegar, sesame oil, scallions, 1½ tablespoons ginger, sugar, garlic and chile paste to taste in a shallow glass dish. Add steak, cover and marinate in the refrigerator, turning once or twice, for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  3. To prepare filling & cabbage shells: Combine 1 cup water, rice and ¼ teaspoon canola oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir well, reduce heat to maintain the barest simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Set aside, covered.
  4. Remove the outermost leaves from red cabbage, cut the head in half through the core and remove the core from each half. Peel leaves from each half and select 8 good-looking ones to use for the taco shells. Thinly slice enough of the remaining cabbage to get 4 cups.
  5. Heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon pepper and a pinch of salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced red cabbage and 1 tablespoon ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.
  6. When you're ready to cook the steak, preheat a grill to medium-high. (Or position an oven rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and preheat broiler to high.)
  7. Remove the steak from the marinade; reserve the marinade. Grill (or broil), turning once, 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare skirt steak or 9 to 12 minutes for medium-rare flank steak. Transfer to a clean cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the marinade to the red cabbage mixture in the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 4 minutes.
  9. To serve, divide the rice and the red cabbage mixture among the cabbage shells. Very thinly slice the steak against the grain and divide among the tacos. Top each with about 2 tablespoons drained pickled cabbage.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Pickle cabbage & marinate steak (Steps 1 & 2) up to 1 day ahead. Prepare rice (Step 3) & cabbage filling (Step 5) up to 2 hours ahead.
  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 2 tacos
  • Per serving: 450 calories; 19 g fat(5 g sat); 6 g fiber; 40 g carbohydrates; 30 g protein; 84 mcg folate; 74 mg cholesterol; 11 g sugars; 5 g added sugars; 2,101 IU vitamin A; 83 mg vitamin C; 119 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 728 mg sodium; 1,038 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (138% daily value), Vitamin A (42% dv), Iron (28% dv), Folate (21% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 vegetable, 3½ lean meat, 2 fat

Reviews 1

April 08, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
The whole family loved this We all loved this! Though it took some preparation time to do, it is designed so several steps can be done up to a day in advance. I had problems finding brown basamati rice, and so I used white basamati. I think it would be great with brown rice but think the basamati length and texture is important to final dish. I would use the marinade from the beef in other contexts as well, Pros: seasonal ingredients, family friendly, can do prep ahead Cons: Several steps, takes some time to make
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