[Update 15 June 2021]
For meat-lovers, there's nothing like a good steak. The sheer flavour of good quality meat is delicious, not even needing much more than salt and pepper to make it enjoyable. While steak is often seen as a meal to head to a fancy restaurant for, truth be told, you can also make good steak to enjoy at home! With premium cuts of halal meat becoming more widely accessible, it's actually doable to cook and eat your steak at home. Which is also handy given the current period when many of us are staying home and not eating out as much, as steaks are really delivery-friendly food ? So if you're wondering how to cook a steak at home, we've got you covered with our step-by-step guide.
Our guide lays out or the tools and equipment you'll need, to where to find quality halal meat, to how to actually cook your steak. So let's dive in!
- A cast-iron skillet or a heavy, thick-based frying pan: We're proposing a straightforward method of cooking the beef on a pan over the stove (vs. other methods like grilling it over a barbecue, in the oven or the fancy sous-vide), so in terms of the main equipment, all you need is a heavy and thick-based frying pan. Cast iron is often the recommended choice, but if you don't have that, a stainless steel pan works too. The two options are preferred as they'll be able to get very hot and retain the heat, which is what you need to sear the outside of your steak.
- Tongs or a spatula: You'll need this to flip the steak during the cooking process
- Aluminium foil: After cooking, we'll be resting the meat, so you'll need aluminium foil to cover it.
- Meat thermometer (optional): If you have this this can help you gauge the doneness of your steak via its internal temperature, but if you don't have one you can also test whether the meat is cooked to your preference by pressing on it (more on that below).
The whole purpose of steak is to enjoy the delicious flavour of the beef, so it's no surprise that the cut and quality of the beef you choose will play a huge part. But we're also aware that some beef can get super expensive, so it's best to find what suits your budget! We recommend going for the best quality beef you can afford, from a good halal butcher or meat supplier if you can. In terms of which cut of beef to go for, a rib-eye or sirloin (often also referred to as striploin) are two very popular choices that work great for frying in a pan and which also happen to be the most accessible to find.
If you're looking for places to buy you steaks online instead of just heading to the grocery store and seeing what's available, we have some suggestions!
- Singapore: We've previously rounded up a list of halal meat suppliers in this article - most of them offer the cuts we mention above. The Meat Club also has a selection of halal-certified chilled and frozen steaks.
- Malaysia: Check out Sejadi's selection of frozen halal premium meat cuts. They also happen to have Father's Day special sets, which include some steak ones! For those in KL, you can also check out Steak.Lid, a small business that specialises in steak cuts meant for home cooks.
We're keeping it basic here, so all you'll need is salt and pepper to season the meat. You'll also need vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Make sure to bring your steak to room temperature before cooking them - you don't want to toss a chilled steak on a hot pan. If using frozen meat, defrost the meat in the fridge overnight. Remove the steak from its packaging and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 - 45 minutes before cooking.
- Once you're ready to cook, pat the meat dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat your pan over high heat until hot. Add a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil and swirl it around evenly so it coats the bottom of the pan. Once the oil just starts smoking, add your steak. If you're cooking more than one steak, only add another one if your pan is big enough to leave some space between the two steaks.
- How long you cook your steak depends on your preferred level of doneness. For cuts like rib-eye and sirloin (which tend to lie on the thicker side), we recommend nothing more than a medium level of done-ness as anything beyond that would likely result in a tough piece of meat. Besides that, the thickness of the steak will affect your cooking time too. For a steak that's about 2.5 - 3cm thick, a general rule of thumb is as follows:
- Rare: About 2 minutes on per side
- Medium-rare: About 3 minutes per side
- Medium: About 4 minutes per side
- Home cooks can usually gauge the doneness of the steak either by using a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the steak or pressing on the meat itself:
- Rare: Temperature of 50 - 55 degrees Celsius. The meat should feel soft, like pressing the flesh at the base of your thumb.
- Medium-rare: Temperature of 55 - 57 degrees Celsius. The meat will still feet somewhat soft, but with a bit more tension, very slightly springy.
- Medium: Temperature of 60 - 65 degrees Celsius. The meat will feel firm and springy.
- Once your steak is ready, transfer it to a plate and loosely cover it with aluminium foil. Let it rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with sides of your choice.
Feeling adventurous? Try this
- Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan in the last couple of minutes of cooking time. Once the butter melts, spoon the butter over the steak continuously (i.e. basting the meat)until it finishes cooking.
- Alternatively, you can also add a pat of butter to the top of the steak right you transfer it from the pan to the plate to rest.
- For some added flavour, you can also aromatics like a couple of cloves of garlic or a sprig of rosemary or thyme when adding the butter.
Steak often feels like a food we can just enjoy at restaurants, but the fact of the matter is that it's really doable at home too! It's time to have a go at cooking steak at home and having a great delicious meal to enjoy ?