Carne Asada

Recipe from Esteban Castillo

Adapted by Genevieve Ko

Nothing beats the smoky richness of charred sliced steak stuffed into tortillas. Carne asada translates to “grilled meat” and refers to the many variations on this dish, as well as parties that center around grilling the marinated meat. Esteban Castillo, author of the cookbook and blog “Chicano Eats,” combines the intensity of a dry spice rub with a citrus juice marinade in his recipe. Sometimes, he pours some beer into the mix too, but this version, fresh with cilantro, garlic and scallions, already gives the steak big, aromatic flavors. — Genevieve Ko

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 35 minutes, plus 2 hours’ marinating

For the Steak Seasoning (see Tip):

1 guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded, lightly toasted and cooled

3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 1/4 teaspoons dehydrated minced garlic

2 1/4 teaspoons dehydrated minced onion

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

For the Steak:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 4 large limes)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 large orange)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 scallions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 1/2 pounds flank, flap or skirt steak

For Assembly:

12 to 16 corn tortillas

Salsas, for serving

1. Make the steak seasoning: Tear the cooled chile into small pieces and place in a spice grinder, along with the peppercorns, coriander and cumin. Pulse until everything is roughly ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the garlic, onion and salt.

2. Marinate the steak: In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, oil, cilantro, scallions, garlic and 1 tablespoon steak seasoning. Place the steak in a resealable freezer bag or shallow dish, and pour in the marinade. Make sure the steak is evenly coated. Seal the bag, or cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Heat an outdoor charcoal or gas grill to medium, or set an indoor grill pan over medium.

4. Transfer the steak to a baking sheet lined with foil (discard the marinade). Sprinkle the remaining steak seasoning all over the steak. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, 4 to 5 minutes for medium and 6 to 7 minutes for well done. Remove the steak from the grill (but leave the grill on) and let rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before cutting into thin, small slices.

5. While the steak rests, warm the tortillas: Reduce the grill heat to medium-low. Place the tortillas on the grill and cook until they start to blister but are not blackened, 1 to 3 minutes. Stack in a clean kitchen towel and wrap well. Serve warm, with the sliced steak and salsas.


Tip: If you have pre-ground spices, you can make the seasoning with 2 teaspoons ground guajillo chile, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 2 teaspoons onion powder.

Arroz Rojo (Red Rice)

Recipe from Esteban Castillo

Adapted by Genevieve Ko

Also known as arroz Mexicano, these tomato-slicked grains of rice taste amazing alongside beans, tacos, enchiladas and just about any spread of meat, seafood and vegetables. Esteban Castillo, author of the “Chicano Eats” cookbook and blog, toasts the rice in garlicky oil first to give the final dish an even richer flavor. A simple spice blend does, too. — Genevieve Ko

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes

1 2/3 cups chicken stock, warmed

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh or frozen corn)


1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the chicken stock, tomato paste, onion powder, coriander, cumin and pepper.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the garlic and rice, and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the stock mixture into the skillet and bring to a full boil. Stir in the mixed vegetables, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tightfitting lid and cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, to steam for another 15 minutes. Uncover and let the steam release for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Season with salt to taste. Serve alongside your favorite dishes.