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Lemongrass Beef Rolls with Rice Noodles

As with much Southeast Asian cooking, this enormously flavorful dish, called bo bun in Vietnamese, combines a salad with noodles and meat.

Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak (1 inch thick), sliced across the grain 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, chopped
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler and cut into slivers
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound rice vermicelli
  • 3 tablespoons chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
  • One large handful each of basil, mint and cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1 large head of Boston lettuce, separated into leaves


  1. Soak 2 dozen 8-inch bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes. Thread the steak onto the skewers and place on a large baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, combine the lemongrass, shallots, two-thirds of the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the coriander and pepper. Pulse until a smooth paste forms. With the machine on, add 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of oil. Brush the beef with the marinade and let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, on a cutting board, use the side of a large knife to mash the remaining garlic and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a paste. In a small bowl, toss the garlic paste with the carrot slivers and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 5 tablespoons of fish sauce, the lemon juice, rice vinegar, water and one-third of the jalapeños.
  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the rice noodles until just wilted, about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well, then transfer to a platter.
  5. Light a grill. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the beef skewers over a medium-hot fire for 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare meat. Arrange the skewers over the noodles and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve with the dipping sauce, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lettuce and the remaining two-thirds of the jalapeños so your guests can make their own bundles.
Contributed By Photo © Jim Franco Published June 2002

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