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Vietnamese Grilled Beef with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

 

Vietnamese grilled beef and pork skewers fresh off the grill

Vietnamese grilled beef and pork skewers fresh off the grill

I love Vietnamese food. I find it a really refreshing cuisine. One of the main flavorings in Vietnamese food is the very pungent and repugnant fermented fish sauce aka nuoc mam.  If you smell it on its own – it will make you gag. But, somehow this smelly concoction works culinary miracles and helps create the most toothsome meals.

Recently, I made Vietnamese Grilled Beef with Nuoc Cham. Well, I actually made Vietnamese Grilled Beef and Pork, using the same marinade for the pork. I found the recipe in my The Food and Cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia cookbook by Ghillie Basan. Delicious. The beef/ pork can be wrapped in lettuce leaves for dipping or eaten off the skewer. To go along with it I tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate the lotus root salad I so enjoy at Tamarind Tree in Seattle. I’ll let you know when I succeed on that one….

Vietnamese Grilled Beef

adapted from The Food and Cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia by Ghillie Basan

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef rump, sirloin or fillet, cut across the grain into thin strips
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red Thai chilli, seeded and chopped ( I omit)
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 2 T. vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. peanut oil
  • lettuce leaves
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 24 wood skewers, soaked in water at least 20 minutes

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a mortar and pestle, pound together the lemon grass, shallots, garlic, chilli and sugar until it forms a paste. Beat in the fish sauce, soy sauce and peanut oil.
  2. Add the marinade to the beef in a large ziplock bag and marinade for 1-2 hours.
  3. Thread the beef on the skewers and grill for not much more than a minute on each side.
  4. Leave on the skewer or wrap in lettuce leaves and garnish with the cilantro.
  5. Serve with nuoc cham dipping sauce.

Nuoc Cham

adapted from The Food and Cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia by Ghillie Basan

Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 red Thai chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 4 T. vietnamese fish sauce
  • 4-5 T. water

Cooking Directions:

  1. With a mortar and pestle pound the garlic with the chillies and sugar to make a paste.
  2. Squeeze in the lime juice, add the fish sauce and water to taste. Blend well.

 

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