This one-dish salad has the advantage of
being both delectable and easy to make. You can prepare and assemble
everything ahead of time, making this a perfect company meal. Partially
freezing the beef firms it and makes for easier slicing. If you wish,
you can substitute chicken breast for the beef.
Rice vermicelli (yields 4 1/2 cups)
Beef sirloin, flank steak or top round
Medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
Lemongrass, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Curry powder, optional
Cucumber, peeled and shredded
Fresh mint leaves
Coriander (coarsely chopped)
Crushed roasted peanuts
Soak the noodles in cold water for 20
minutes. In a large covered saucepan, bring water to the boil and add
the noodles. Cook in boiling water for 2 minutes, rinse under cold
water, drain and set aside.
Slice the beef into strips 5 x 2 1/2 x 1/3
cm (1 x 2 x 1/8 in) and place the strips in a non-reactive container.
To make the marinade paste, pound the
onion, garlic and lemongrass with a mortar and pestle or with a food
processor until coarse. Add in the salt, black pepper, curry powder if
desired, and fish sauce. Stir mixture over the beef and marinate for 1
Meanwhile, start the barbecue fire and
soak the bamboo skewers in water,
Arrange the lettuce leaves, cucumber, bean
sprouts, mint leaves, fresh coriander and shredded carrot on a serving
When you are ready to eat, thread the meat
strips onto the bamboo skewers. Cook over medium-hot coals, 1 to 2
minutes per side, taking care not to burn the meat. Remove the skewers
from the fire, and arrange the skewers on the serving platter.
To serve, place a portion of noodles in a
large soup bowl. Then place the beef, lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts,
mint leaves, fresh coriander, carrot and 1 teaspoon crushed peanuts on
top of the noodles. Dress the ingredients with 2 tablespoons nuoc cham,
or more to taste. Toss the ingredients together and serve. Repeat the
process for each serving.