Asian Flank Steak with Ginger Balsamic Marinade

by Sally on September 5, 2011 · 12 comments

in Beef & Pork

When you’re in the mood for Asian flavors, don’t head for takeout. Try this recipe for flank steak with ginger balsamic marinade. It’s a favorite with my clients and family. After slicing the meat into thin strips and a short marinade in ginger, soy sauce, sake, agave syrup, garlic and balsamic vinegar, this ginger flank steak is ready in just minutes.

Asian Flavors

Maybe it was the ever-present bottle of teriyaki marinade in my mom’s refrigerator or maybe it was the fact that I studied with an Asian executive chef. Whatever the history, I’m a big fan of Asian flavors, and anything with ginger tops the list. Although I rarely eat beef, this ginger flank steak has fantastic flavor I will even eat a bite of.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is a lean choice for beef lovers. It’s not really a steak, but a single piece of muscle. Flank comes in one long, sort of oval shaped piece that is wider at one end and tapering at the other. It’s easily identifiable by the long grain that runs the length of the muscle. When cooked, it’s a little chewy and has great flavor. Marinating adds flavor and also tenderizes the meat.

Flank steaks usually run around 1¼ – 2 pounds each. Figure 6-8 ounces per person for a serving. As you buy a whole piece of flank steak and not a cut, you can’t always get just the amount you need. I’ll buy extra, knowing that any leftovers will make a great lunch the next day. Just pile leftover flank steak on fresh salad greens and dress with Balsamic vinaigrette.

Slice and Marinate

Slice the flank steak across the grain into ½” thin strips with a sharp knife. Place in a covered bowl or plastic zip bag and add the marinade. Allow to stand for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature to soak up great flavor.

After marinating, cook it quickly in a hot pan. As flank steak is lean, don’t overcook it to maintain tenderness. Serve with brown rice and steamed sugar snap peas for a healthy, Asian-inspired dinner with big flavors.

Ying & Yang Living Shoot

In April, I had the great experience and opportunity to demonstrate this recipe for an Asian lifestyle pilot show called Ying & Yang Living. The initial cooking segment was filmed in our home kitchen.

The house was crawling with people, lights, cameras and action for some 11 hours. After it was over the Director of Photography grinned broadly and said “you know what they say, never let a Hollywood film crew into your house”. We’re glad we did! It was so much fun. The crew was a terrific team of talented and dedicated professionals. It was fascinating participating in the creative and technical process. Lots of work!

Take a look at the short clip. More to come! You Tube Ying & Yang Living clip

Asian Flank Steak with Ginger Balsamic Marinade

Slice the flank steak across the grain into thin strips, marinate and cook quickly in hot pan. Add steamed brown rice and sugar snap peas for a healthy dinner with tasty Asian flavors. Leftovers make a great steak salad the next day. Halve this recipe for 2 servings or double for a bigger group. Sake can be purchased in small bottles if its something you don’t often use, but this recipe may change that. For a substitution try dry vermouth or for no alcohol, beef broth.

Inspired by a recipe in Bon Appétit, March 2002.

Serves: 4


  • ½ cup (120 ml) low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ cup (120 ml) sake
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey or agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) ginger puree from a jar, (organic with no high fructose corn syrup)
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds flank steak (700 grams – 1 kilo), well trimmed of any fat


  1. Make the marinade by combining soy sauce through chives.
  2. Slice the flank steak across the grain into ½” (1 1/2 cm) wide strips. If the steak is very wide, you can slice it in half lengthwise with the grain first, then cross grain into strips. Place steak in a bowl, mix with marinade, then cover with plastic and allow to stand 45-60 minutes at room temperature. You can also mix it in a zip bag, press out the air and marinate.
  3. Heat a large non-stick sauté or fry pan over medium heat. Drain marinade from steak through a sieve and set aside. Lay steak strips flat in the hot pan; don’t crowd them. Cook until one side is a browned and getting caramelized edges. Flip the pieces over and cook just briefly, then remove to a rimmed baking sheet or plate. Repeat with the other pieces until done.

Note – If you want extra sauce to drizzle over the steak, place the raw marinade in a small pan and bring to a boil for a few minutes to kill any raw meat bacteria. Boil it down but be careful not to let it burn away.

For a quick vegetable side dish – Drop sugar snap peas into boiling, salted water for 3 minutes, drain and serve. If you have snap peas left over, add them to a steak salad the next day. It’s also delicious served with mushrooms. I like to use shitakes with this recipe. Slice and cook in the same pan as the flank steak to pick up the flavors. You may need a little oil (try coconut oil) in the pan to cook the mushrooms. Sometimes I’ll add a tablespoon of finely chopped shallots towards the end of cooking for extra flavor.

About the vegetables I did for Ying & Yang Living – To make the vegetables I did for the show, quarter mushroom, thinly slice sweet peppers and slice asparagus. Cook them in the same pan to absorb all of the good flavors from the meat juices. You may need to add just a little coconut oil. Splash with sake and cook down to finish and glaze the vegetables.

Helpful links with recipes, notes and tools:

Sake is a Japanese rice-based alcoholic beverage brewed much like beer About sake, from Wikipedia

How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice, from Pinch My Salt

How to Cook Brown Rice, from The Kitchn

Another way to do flank steak, grilled, from Simply Recipes

Orange Ginger Flank Steak, from Steamy Kitchen

A good slicing knife, the one in the photos above, is a Wusthof Hollow-Edge 8″ Carving Knife. It’s one of my most used knives. Great for slicing up steak, chicken, pork tenderloin, etc.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rivki Locker September 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm

This looks marvelous. So packed with flavor. And I love the fact that you can put the leftovers to good use.


2 Suzanne September 7, 2011 at 5:04 am

Sally this recipe looks great. Looks like a lot of fun, congrats on getting in the Ying & Yang Living magazine. Love your kitchen too what a great place to cook.


3 sara September 9, 2011 at 7:54 am

Lovely! This dish looks absolutely delicious – and way better than takeout! :)


4 Jeff September 13, 2011 at 7:53 am

Wow. That is an awesome looking steak. And the photos look absolutely amazing!!


5 Michele October 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I have a lot of beef eaters in my home so this one I know is going to go over quite well! I can’t wait to try it out on my gang and see how they like it. The Flank steak is a great choice to use because it is lean and the marinade looks great – I’m making myself hungry now!


6 GregB from Austin November 5, 2011 at 7:36 am

Delicious! We made this for some out-of-state visitors, and it was a huge success. Such a success, in fact, that we had none of the anticipated leftovers for the next day’s steak salad. With the idea of “if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it”, we used a high-quality sake for the recipe, and served the same with dinner, which worked out very well.

Thanks, Sally, for another great recipe!


7 Tiffany January 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Can you let it marinate overnight or would that make it too tangy?


8 Sally January 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hi Tiffany. You could probably marinate it overnight. You might also marinate the whole piece of flank steak rather than the strips. The nice thing about marinating the strips an hour at room temp is its quick yet provides lots of flavor. You could do a test. Cut the flank into strips. Marinate half overnight, and do the other half for the hour. Cook them both and see how they differ. Then report back of course!


9 Tiffany January 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I’ll do that!


10 Tiffany January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Well we just tried both and it was agreed that we liked the one that marinated over night the best. The flavors were amazing.


11 Sally January 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for reporting back Tiffany. Did you do strips or marinate the whole piece of flank?


12 Tiffany January 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

the whole piece


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