When it comes to ingredients, the
Vietnamese will dry almost anything - fish, chilies, mushrooms, snake,
herbs, mangoes, pigs' ears and beef are just some of them. Drying is an
ancient method of preserving food, which also intensifies the flavor and
potency of most ingredients. Some dried goods are destined for stews,
soups and medicinal purposes, whereas others are just for chewing on as a
snack. You will need a few days to dry the beef in this recipe. If you are
lucky this can be done under the sun, otherwise you will need to leave it
in the refrigerator.
Lemon grass, trimmed and chopped
Dried Serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
Rice wrappers, fresh herbs and dipping sauce, to serve (optional)
Trim the beef and cut it against the grain
into thin, rectangular slices, then set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the lemon
grass, garlic and chilies to a paste. Stir in the honey, nuoc mam and
Put the beef into a bowl, tip in the paste
and rub it into the meat. Spread out the meat on a wire rack and place
it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 days.
Cook the dried beef on the barbecue or
under a conventional grill (broiler), and serve it as a snack on its own
or with rice wrappers, fresh herbs and a dipping sauce.