Barbecued Lemongrass Beef
By Periplus Editors, Vietnamese Cooking Made Easy: Simple, Flavorful and Quick Meals
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group.
This one-dish salad has the advantage of being both delectable and easy to make. You can prepare and assemble everything ahead of time, making this a perfect company meal. Partially freezing the beef firms it and makes for easier slicing. If you wish, you can substitute chicken breast for the beef.
Preparation time: 45 mins + 1 hour to marinate
Cooking time: 15 mins
1 lb (500 g) beef sirloin, flank steak or top round, sliced into thin strips
12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour before using
1 tablespoon oil, for brushing
7 oz (200 g) dried rice vermicelli, blanched for 1 to 2 minutes until soft, then rinse with cold water and drained
1/2 head lettuce, leaves washed and separated
1 medium cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
2 cups (31/2 oz/100 g) bean sprouts, seed coats and tails removed
Sprigs of mint leaves
Sprigs of coriander leaves (cilantro)
1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup (50 g) roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
1 portion Fish Sauce Dip
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemongrass, thick bottom part only, outer layers discarded, inner part sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 Make the Marinade first by grinding the onion, garlic and lemongrass to a smooth paste in a blender. Add all the other ingredients and mix until well blended. Transfer the Marinade to a large bowl, place the beef in the Marinade and mix until well coated. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.
2 Prepare the Fish Sauce Dip
3 Thread the marinated beef strips onto the bamboo skewers and brush with a little oil, then grill on a pan grill or under a preheated broiler, basting with the Marinade, until just cooked, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
4 To serve, place the rice vermicelli into individual serving bowls and top with the grilled beef, lettuce leaves, cucumber, bean sprouts, mint leaves, coriander leaves (cilantro) and carrot. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts and serve immediately with a bowl of Fish Sauce Dip on the side.
Dress and toss this dish well with 2 tablespoons of Fish Sauce Dip before eating it.