March 17, 2014 by dgarnett2013
Vietnamese beef with rice vermicelli and crispy vegetables: Diana Henry, A Change of Appetite
Serves 2 for a main course or 4 for a light lunch
For the marinade:
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
- 1 tab fish sauce
- 1 tsp soft light brown sugar
For the rest:
- 400g sirloin steak
- 125g rice vermicelli
- ½ ridge cucumber, cut into fine batons
- 50g beansprouts
- 150g Iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 15g coriander leaves
- leaves from 12 sprigs of mint
- 1 tab roasted peanuts, chopped
For the dipping sauce:
- 1 red chilli, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tabs lime juice, or to taste
- 4 tabs fish sauce
- 5 tsp caster sugar, or to taste
Make the marinade by pounding the shallot, garlic and lemon grass together in a mortar, then gradually adding the fish sauce, brown sugar and pepper. Rub this all over the steak, put in a bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for an hour.
To make the dipping sauce, pound together the chilli and garlic and gradually add the lime juice, fish sauce and caster sugar. Taste for heat and sweet-sour balance, adjusting the levels of chilli, sugar and lime juice until it is as you like it. Add 1 tab of water, or as much as you want; the sauce should be strong though. Set aside.
Heat a griddle pan over a high heat until really hot and cook the steaks for 1½ minutes on each side. The meat should be rare for this dish. Cover with foil to allow the steak to rest briefly.
Put the noodles into a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water. Help to separate the strands using chopsticks, then drain, run cold water through them and shake out as much water as you can.
Put the noodles into a large shallow bowl and put the vegetables and herbs on top, each one in separate little pile. (You can toss it all together but I like the vegetables arranged separately.) Cut the beef into strips and serve it on a platter alongside, with the dipping sauce in a bowl. Scatter the peanuts over the beef or the salad, whichever you prefer, then serve.
Made in mid March when the weather was glorious and spring bursting out.