Spice Up Your Skirt Steak

Evan Sung

Founded by Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz, New York City's Num Pang sandwich shop has emerged in recent years as a place to go for some of the tastiest, most savory sandwiches out there. The restaurant, which has expanded to multiple locations throughout the city, has its roots in Cambodian cuisine, and possesses a spirit of experimentation that leads to some magnificently satisfying meals. A new cookbook, Num Pang, focuses on the recipes at the heart of their sandwiches, but gears it more toward home dining — in other words, you can use these recipes as the core of a sandwich if you'd like, but you can also feast on everything from black pepper chicken to meatballs to a dish designed in collaboration with Beastie Boys member Ad-Rock.

Among the most notable recipes in here is their grilled skirt steak with crushed coriander and peppercorn. "Black pepper and coriander pair very well with red meat, and help to create a great crust when grilled," Chaupoly and Daitz said when asked about the blend of spices used for the recipe. They recommend “coarsely grinding” both the pepper and the coriander. "If ground too fine, they will burn and become bitter,” they said. While the recipe is designed for skirt steak, flank steak can also be used — that said, if you do opt for this, they recommend “increasing the marinade time by four hours" so that the flavor can take hold. 

Grilled Skirt Steak with Crushed Coriander and Peppercorns

Here, skirt steak gets doused in a peppery-sweet soy glaze that acts like the "glue: for sticking on a generous amount of coarsely crushed coriander seeds — kind of like a Southeast Asian steak au poivre. Coriander is fresh and grassy, and the brightness of it works phenomenally with the heat from the pepper. If you can’t find skirt steak, you can substitute flank steak instead.


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp coarsely ground coriander seeds (preferably freshly ground; see page 122)
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 lb skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola oil


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, coriander, pepper, sugar, and honey until the sugar has dissolved. Add the steaks to the bowl, turn to coat, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat a charcoal or gas grill (or grill pan) to medium-high. Use tongs to dip a folded paper towel in the oil and grease the grill grates. Lay the steaks on the grill and cook without moving them until they are nicely grill marked, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook on the other side until the steaks are cooked to your liking (we cook them to medium-rare), 2 1/2 to 3 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the steak (some pieces may be done before others).
  3. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin pieces crosswise and on an angle. Serve.

Recipe text excerpted from NUM PANG, © 2016 by Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Daitz. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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