Pan Seared Steak Rolls

Pan Seared Steak Rolls

from my column in Tampa Tribune

Tat-tat-taaaat-tat-tat-taaaat-tat! That, my friends, is the beautiful sing-song sound of Chef Martin Yan’s cleaver as he chops bok choy. In fact, everything about Martin is musical, from the lyrical harmony of his Chinese accent (yes, it’s real – I asked) to the way he rhythmically pulses the food processor. Brrrrrr-brr.brr-brrrrr.

I met Martin Yan last week at his special class held at Aprons cooking school, and it really was a childhood dream come true. When I was kid, I watched “Yan Can Cook.” Back then, in the 80’s, it was a big deal to me, not for the cooking aspect of the show, but because he was Chinese, with a thick accent, starring in his very own show on television. He created an entire brand empire around his kung fu-esque knife action and very funny, punny jokes.

But, putting showmanship aside, he gave the class very useful cooking tips:

  • Tsingtao beer is great for steaming mussels
  • If you;re running low on Hoisin sauce, just add a bit of soy sauce, sugar and Sriracha hot sauce to the bottle, close and shake to mix
  • Don’t waste leftover bits of vegetables, seafood or meat -chop them up and simmer in canned chicken broth for an instant soup
  • Deep-fried chiffonade strips of bok choy leaves makes a crisp, nutty and sweet topping for a stir-fry

You know what though, I don’t think I can fully express my admiration for the Yan man in words. I mean, this is the guy who’s hosted over 2,000 cooking shows, authored 28 cookbooks, carves a chicken in 18 seconds flat and minces a garlic clove in a split-second, single-handed thwack. He’s totally my kitchen super-hero and get this, he mentioned writing a blurb for the back of my cookbook! He showed me where Jackie Chan had blurbed the back of his book and called him a “man of perpetual motion.” And yes, he is.

Oh, please excuse that whoosh of air. That’s just silly me sucking up.

From “Martin Yan’s China” Martin Yan's Chinacookbook

Pan Seared Steak Rolls

8 ounces flank steak (4 inch x 6 inch piece) or 8 thin sliced sirloin (found at Publix)

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup canned chicken broth

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 carrot, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
½ red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
2 ribs celery, sliced thin on diagonal
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
12 chives, cut into 3 inches long
4 ounces enoki mushrooms
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds

Freeze steak for 30 minutes until partially frozen. Slice steak against the grain, on the diagonal, into 8 equally thin pieces. Use a meat mallet to pound each piece of meat to 1/8 inch thick. If using thin sliced sirloin, skip this step.

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and add meat slices. Let stand 15 minutes to 2 hours.

In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients.

To prepare filling, heat a wok or skillet over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add garlic and ginger and fry for 20 seconds. Add carrot, bell pepper, celery and stir fry for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and stir. Transfer to bowl and let cool.

To make the beef rolls, lay beef slices out with short side facing you. Equally divide chives, enoki mushrooms and vegetable mixture among the pieces of meat. Roll the beef up, over the filling and secure with toothpick.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter, swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for 1 minute, turn roll. Add sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer over medium heat until beef is just cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Remove toothpick, sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Yields 4 servings



To see Martin in action – watch a video of him carving a chicken in 18 seconds!

Comments 51

  1. Ann

    Love this pic, are you loving it? Listen, I don’t eat meat – and I want to pick this little hunk up and BITE it! It looks juicy, thick, healthful, colorful, bright, and simple. No fluffer needed here. :)

  2. Dan

    I told you that garlic thing would blow your mind. I’ve never seen anyone ever do that with garlic before or since, and it just… freaks… me… out! As far as inspirations go, Martin Yan has got to be one to a great many chefs out there.

    Aside from that, this recipe looks and sounds incredible. Of course, since I’ve got what seems to be a perpetual ball of fire in my backyard, I may actually try to make this by starting it out on the grill… Hopefully, it won’t require too much math.

  3. Sowjanya

    I got goose bumps reading that he will “blurb” on your book. How exciting:).

    I think after this post, I am more in love Martin Yan :).

    I don’t eat beef in any form other than chili but i think i might change my religion looking at those steak roles 😉

    and DH loves Tsing tao beer and I love mussels. We are made for each other, I tell ya :p

  4. Hatshepsut

    LUCKY! Everyday after school my mom, my sister and I would pile on to the couch and tune into the local PBS channel to catch YAN CAN COOK! We were in awe of his skill and how easy he made Chinese cooking look (this from a family who only needed to give their name to the local Chinese restaurant for them to know what we wanted). At the end of every show we would yell at the top of our lungs Martin Yan’s mantra along with him, “If Yan can cook, so can YOU!”

    Of course this was during the time when the internet was in its infancy and the idea of just downloading and printing out a recipe that you had just seen on tv was unheard of. I think Martin Yan is to our generation what Julia Childs was to our parents generation, that friendly, memorable character who made us feel both completely comfortable and, at the same time, completely inept in our cooking skills. But our ineptitude was ok, because they said it was.

  5. TikiPundit

    Congrats on the book cover text by Martin Yan! That’s really major. I agree with Other Dan: Martin Yan is an all-around accomplished, successful chef, and that he’s recognized you is a tribute to your hard work.

    I also got my acquiantaince to cooking through Yan, and also Jacques Pepin, both on public television in the Bay Area in the 1980s. Today, our house is filled with an Asian-French mix of cooking and eating, which is always fun, even if not always in sync with the different cultures.

    I’ll definitely try this recipe this weekend.

  6. Kitt

    What a wonderful experience for you! I would’ve been jumping up and down and grinning the whole time. (I did that once when I met the author of my all-time favorite novel and I’m sure she thought I was completely daft.)

  7. Eileen

    I love Martin Yan’s little tips. Congrats on the cookbook!
    The steak rolls look so delicious in the pictures.
    Will try this recipe to impress bf soon… ^^

  8. Mandy

    I have just bookmarked this recipe. It looks too good to be missed. And congrats on the Martin Yan’s blurb on your coming book!

  9. Single Guy Chef

    Hmm, those steak rolls look so juicy! Martin Yan is my childhood hero too. I used to love watching his shows because he was the only Asian guy on public television cooking. He’s like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going and going.

  10. Cindy

    I think I’m pretty dumb here,
    At first I thought you can just cut the steak into thin slices without freezing it…
    Hahahaha at least that means I learned something from your awesome blog!!

  11. Mike

    That sounds like a wonderful experience and that’s exciting news about the blurb on your book. Oh, and not to mention those delicious looking steak rolls…YUM!

  12. patsyk

    OMG! Those rolls look incredible! I can’t wait to give them a try. It must have been so cool to take a class from Martin Yan! I’m jealous!

  13. Hillary

    Those are beau-ti-ful!!! When I read steak rolls…I didn’t think the steak would be doing the actual rolling. That would make a great appetizer or dinner!

  14. Laurel

    First, please let me say your site is great! Second, I couldn’t agree more that Martin is a wonderful chef and a very nice man. I live in Northern California and I have had the pleasure of speaking with Martin. As well that my mother went on two of his trips to China. She adored him. Now if I could only meetyou and get you to do a cooking segment in Sacramento!!

  15. Myf

    i’m so drooling over the steak and enoki mushroom in between…
    i love your new layout, it’s a winner! :-)

  16. katie

    Of all the chef’s in the world, he’s the one I would like to watch (and learn) in person. That must have been fantastic!
    And the steak rolls look wonderful!

  17. Jescel

    I remember him in the 80’s. The cooking show that was being aired in the Philippines was “Wok With Yan”. He’s really good.. and you’re right about him being a Kitchen Superhero… As to your food… it’s superb as usual.. hmmnn… mouthwatering.

  18. Amy @ The Q Family

    Looks so yummy. I’m so going to try it this week.

    Just found your site from your post on Family Travel site. So glad I found it. Looking forward to learning more wonderful recipes from you.

    -Amy @ The Q Family

  19. Meg

    The pictures of these are beautiful, and they sound great. However, in the last couple crazy weeks of school, we are so on the take-out train (especially with one parent in the house limping, and the other with bronchitis). The plate under the rolls is a nice compositional touch. I never think of things like that. 18 seconds flat? How many do you think he did before getting that fast?

  20. shelley

    Whoa, I LURVE Martin Chan, loved watching the show when I was a kid. Glad to hear he is a cool guy, and will tuck away that tip on the bok choy.

  21. Kavie

    I tried this recipe and was totally blowb away by its flavors. Wow! I even deconstructed the recipe and made a whole meal, steak with veg (using the same recipe) and rice. Finger licking good!

  22. Randall

    I’m your newest fan! I’ve been all over your site for the past hour now. I think I like your sense of humor as much as your recipes; exercises to pick out fish…hilarious!.

    I’ve watched Martin Yan as long as any TV chef. He’s been my hero since showing me how to blow dry shrimp before cooking.

    You two are made for each other, if the food network doesn’t pick you up, let’s do a show together.


  23. Rachel

    When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. Absolutely amazing. It was really really flavorful and tender. I served mine over rice, with more of the sauce drizzled over the rice. I didnt have chicken broth, so I subbed white wine. Also, I didnt have enoki mushrooms or any other mushrooms, so I used bean sprouts..I sauteed them with the veggies and it was perfect. Your picture looks a million times better than mine. I linked to your blog.

  24. Chef Tity

    My fiance saw it when we were looking for appetizers for some guests…We always like to try new things…I tried it and OMG…it turns out very nice…We loved it, very simple, chic and so good…Thank you for the recipe…..

  25. Roselyn

    I had to print 8 pages of comments to be able to print this recipe. I will never do this again!

  26. Debbie

    Wow, made this tonight so good, the flavors are amazing. Used zucchini in place of the mushrooms, loved it and the whole family devoured it, thank you!

  27. cnewk

    ok, I’m borrowing the word “deconstructed” from another comment because it makes what happened to me sound SO much more elegant haha. Except my deconstruction of this dish was unavoidable. I could not get these rolls to stay together so it just all fell apart on me. But still the ingredients are wonderful. I personally am not good enough to ever use this for a party–toothpick or no toothpick! thanks for the recipe!

  28. lesley

    You have maybe worked it out by now… but you just have to left click on the recipe to highlight it.. then scroll through it , when you have highlighted the recipe then right click and select copy and copy it into a word document page.

  29. شرقي

    Whats up very nice blog!! Guy .. Excellent .
    . Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally? I am satisfied to search out a lot of helpful information right here within the publish, we need work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  30. Linda

    made these at a girlfriends for the 4th of July, they were absolutely delicious. Will do again!

  31. Jen

    These were amazing! Omitted the chives because I didn’t have any, but will use next time they are in season. Also, I only had regular mushrooms on hand and I cooked them with the the veggies. Cooked longer than a minute. Once everything is prepped, the cooking time is fast. PS I love Martin Yan!

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