We love tacos, and we love Indian food, so why not marry the two? Meherwan Irani of Botiwalla in Atlanta does just that with these tacos. He marinates flank steak in a vibrant masala (a term for any type of Indian spice blend) before throwing it on the grill. Once cooked, the sliced meat tops pieces of grilled naan for a perfect mash-up of cuisines.
The masala is the highlight of the dish, flavoring the steak with bright curry leaves and tangy tamarind. While you should marinate the steak for at least one hour, you can take it as long as six to ensure the flavors blend into the meat. We don't recommend marinating overnight, since the vinegar in the marinade can break down the meat and make it mushy.
To learn more, read "A Naan Issue."
Indian Flank Steak Tacos
Recipe adapted from Meherwan Irani, Botiwalla, Atlanta, GA
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes, plus marinating time
For the Masala:
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large red onion, diced
½ cup packed curry leaves
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 serrano chile, minced
One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Tacos:
1½ pounds flank steak
½ red onion, plus more for serving, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Grilled naan, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. Make the masala: In a 12-inch skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the curry leaves, garlic, serrano and ginger, and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender with the remaining masala ingredients. Blend until smooth, then let cool completely.
2. Make the tacos: In a large bowl, toss the flank steak with the masala to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the sliced red onion with lime juice and set aside.
3. Light a grill or heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Grill the steak, flipping once, until caramelized and medium rare, 7 to 8 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice against the grain on a bias.
4. Serve the steak with pieces of grilled naan, sliced red onion and lime wedges, garnishing with cilantro leaves.