Recipes Main Courses Beef and Veal Bistec Adobado with Grilled Green Onions

Bistec Adobado with Grilled Green Onions

Prep Time: 150 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

This classic steak adobado, marinated in a mixture of chiles, vinegar, and seasonings, is best made with a cut of beef that has some chew. At the San Francisco restaurant Tacolicious they prefer flank or skirt steak, but tri-tip is equally good. Serve the steak sliced on a platter with a tangle of grilled green onions and, of course, a pile of warm tortillas.


  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 dried cascabel chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) hot water
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground, or 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lb. (1 kg) flank steak
  • 1 bunch green onions, root ends trimmed
  • 2 limes, halved
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, finely shredded
      cabbage, grated cotija and salsa, for serving


In a bowl, combine the ancho, guajillo and cascabel chiles and top with the vinegar and hot water. Place a weight on top of the chiles to keep them submerged and let stand until softened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until just smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Once the chiles have softened, transfer them and their soaking liquid to a blender. Add the cooled onion and garlic and their oil and the cumin, salt, and pepper and blend on high speed until a thick paste forms.

Put the flank steak in a sealable plastic bag, add the chile paste, and seal the bag. Massage the contents of the bag to coat the meat evenly with the paste. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Transfer the steak to the pan and grill, turning once, until well seared, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

While the steak is resting, cook the green onions and limes. Grill the green onions in the grill pan over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the lime halves, cut side down, on the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Serve the steak with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, cabbage, cotija, salsa and grilled lime halves for squeezing. Serve the grilled onions on the side, or chop them coarsely to add to the tacos. Serves 4 to 6.

Tacolicious, San Francisco, CA.