Vicky’s Vietnamese beef salad

img_9170.jpgSometimes I yearn for that gorgeous spicy, salty, sweet food of the east (umami, right?) and throw my plant-based caution to the wind. A good excuse when son was staying to reprise this dish which I have developed to suit my own taste-buds. The quantities given are guidelines, basically just use what you want to satisfy your cravings. You can also add cherry tomatoes to the greens. Despite a seemingly long list of ingredients it is very quick to make, the only thing requiring cooking is the steak! For more people just increase the ingredients. For  vegetarian/vegan option, just add tofu or mushrooms; for pescatarian, add fried shrimps.

Serves 2

Marinade for beef

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

3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1-2 red hot chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp lime juice/juice one lime
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

the salad

1 good steak, rump is best I find
200-300g (depends how much noodle you like) vermicelli (mung bean) noodles, rice noodles also ok
1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned or spiralised
1 middle-eastern cucumber or half traditional one, julienned
salad leaves – in this case from my garden!
handful bean sprouts
handful roasted peanuts
scattering of fried shallots from Chinese supermarket (buy in jars)
herbs – coriander, dill (very authentic) and Thai basil

Method
First marinade the steak for at least one hour in all the ingredients, which you have whisked up in a bowl first.

Then prepare the salad dressing by chopping and mixing all the ingredients and set aside to garner taste.

Prepare the noodles according to pack instruction. I always add a little sesame oil to them after they are drained to keep them from sticking, and I cut them with scissors so you can eat them more easily with chopsticks.

Now griddle the steak, a couple of minutes each side as you want it rare in the middle. Leave to rest.

While it’s resting, prepare all the salad ingredients – julienne the carrots and cucumber, wash the salad leaves (or pick them from the garden!).  Arrange in a large dish, apart from the peanuts, herbs and fried shallots, which you will scatter over at the very end.

After the steak has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice it thinly; arrange it over the salad, add the dressing and the garnish, and you’re done! Bon appetit!

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