Lemongrass Beef Rolls with Rice Noodles
- SERVINGS: 6
As with much Southeast Asian cooking, this enormously flavorful dish, called bo bun in Vietnamese, combines a salad with noodles and meat.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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