Warm Vietnamese beef salad

A meal of a salad, with tons of Asian flavours, created by Helen Goh and published in the Guardian in 2011. Serves 4-6 500g rump steak, cut into 1cm-wide strips 60ml sunflower oil, for frying For the beef marinade 2 sticks lemongrass, bashed and roughly chopped 3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped 1 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp soy sauce ½ tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp sunflower oil 1 tbsp palm or caster sugar For the dressing 80g palm or caster sugar 1 tbsp fish sauce 1½ tbsp cider vinegar 1 tbsp lime juice 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed For the salad 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced 100g rice (or mung bean) vermicelli noodles 170g iceberg lettuce, shredded 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned 70g cucumber, cut into 1cm batons 15g Thai basil leaves, torn 40g picked coriander leaves 100g bean sprouts 100g roasted salted peanuts, broken 3 tbsp store-bought fried shallots 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced Salt Blitz all the marinade ingredients in a spice grinder to form a paste. Rub the paste all over the beef and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing: heat three tablespoons of water and the sugar in a small pan and stir until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool, then stir in the remaining ingredients and half a teaspoon of salt. Now prepare the salad. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large wok. Cook the onions on a high heat, stirring often, until parts of the onion are charred. Spread on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt. Cook the noodles as instructed on the packet, drain and rinse under cold water. Toss the lettuce, carrot, cucumber, basil, coriander and bean sprouts in a large bowl. Line a large platter with half the raw vegetables and some fried onion, and cover with the cooked noodles. Sprinkle over a third of the peanuts. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan or wok and sear the beef all over for three minutes, stirring all the time. Season with a quarter-teaspoon of salt and spread the beef on top of the noodles. Cover the beef with the remaining vegetables and fried onion, spoon over the dressing and finish with the remaining peanuts, fried shallots and chilli. Serve at once.
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