Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles

This is from the website. A lot of these recipes I post here because I want to save them. This has replaced my folder of clipped recipes...

Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles
(Bun Bo Zao)
Adapted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Mai Pham.
Serves 4
The last time I was in Saigon, I went back to the lively Cho Vuon Chuoi market near our house. I was so excited to find the same stall that my mother used to take me to for noodles. The lady who once fed me had retired and her daughter had taken over. After squeezing myself onto a low community bench in front of the hot charcoal stove, I found myself indulging in a delectable bowl of noodles with beef that had just come off a sizzling pan. These days, this dish remains a favorite, both for lunch and for a light dinner. For a delicious variation, try it with shrimp or pork.
Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs (recipe follows), ready for serving in noodle bowls Topping:
• 2/3 pound beef sirloin or another tender cut, thinly sliced into bite-sized strips
• 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
• 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
• 2 tablespoons Scallion Oil (recipe)
• 4 tablespoons chopped Roasted Peanuts
• 1 1/2 recipes Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (recipe)
Combine the beef, lemongrass, oyster sauce, and fish sauce in a bowl and let the meat marinate for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the red onion and stir for 1 minute, then add the meat. Stir and cook until the meat is cooked and the onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
To serve, divide the beef topping among the 4 prepared noodle bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1/2 tablespoon Scallion Oil, 1 tablespoon peanuts and about 1/4 cup dipping sauce. Toss several times before eating.

Rice Noodles with Fresh Herbs (Bun Voi Rau Thom)
Adapted from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham (HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Mai Pham.
Makes 4 main-course servings with toppings
If there's one dish that exemplifies just how flavors and textures are contrasted in Vietnamese cuisine, it would have to be bun. Made with small rice vermicelli layered on a bed of shredded fresh herbs and greens, it can be served with a variety of meat or seafood toppings. In Vietnam, bun is usually a meal in itself but it certainly can be served in smaller, appetizer-sized portions.
To create a complete bun meal, make this recipe and serve it with a topping. Make sure that the noodles are completely dry before assembling the bowls. Otherwise, the noodles with not adequately soak up the sauce.
• 2/3 pound small dried rice vermicelli (bun)
• 2 cups shredded red- or green-leaf lettuce
• 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
• 1/3 cup cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
• 1/3 cup green or red perilla leaves, fish mint, or mint leaves, cut into thirds
• 1/3 cup Asian basil leaves, cut into thirds
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the rice vermicelli and stir gently to loosen them. Cook until the noodles are white and soft but still slightly resilient, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Gently fluff the noodles and set them aside for at least 30 minutes. The noodles should be dry and sticky before serving.
Gently toss together the lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, perilla, and basil leaves. Divide the salad mixture among 4 bowls. Top each with one-quarter of the rice noodles. The bowls are now ready for the topping.
Note: Ideally bun should not be refrigerated, because the noodles become dry and stiff. However, if you need to, store the noodles and greens separately. Just before serving, reheat the noodles (preferably in a microwave oven) just until slightly warm. This will help them become soft and a little sticky again.

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