When composing this recipe my brain was thinking about a Chinese red braise. Traditionally used on tough cuts of meat that simmer in an aromatic liquid for hours, a red braise is similarly spiced with star anise, ginger, fennel, cinnamon, (sichuan)peppercorns, and chilies. For this flank steak recipe I adjusted proportions and ingredients slightly but still tried to retain it’s sweet and aromatic nature.
Star Anise and Cinnamon Grilled Flank Steak(serves 2-4)
In a small skillet place the star anise, fennel and cloves over medium low heat. Shake the pan regularly to toast the spices, continue until they are fragrant but don't allow to burn. Transfer to a spice grinder along with the cinnamon. Pulse until a fine powder is formed. Combine with the brown sugar and pepper and rub all over the steak. Transfer to a marinating container with the soy and fresh ginger, give it another good rub down and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove from the fridge an hour before you want to grill. Preheat the grill to high. Remove the steak from the marinade and place on the hot grill. Flip every 2 minutes until medium rare - about 8 minutes. Allow to rest, lightly tented with tin foil for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.