Vietnamese Beef with Lemongrass and Kale

Mise en place - beef, kale, lemongrass with chilies, Thai Basil
Came across this recipe from Luke Nguyen (Australian chef) and just had to try it.  He made it look so easy!  He made it on a small street cart, so of course I had to try it.  The actual name of the dish is 'Beef tossed with Wild Betel Leaf and Lemongrass'. 

The flavours were simply phenomenal.  The dish, to me, embodies all that I love about Vietnamese food - salty, sweet, savoury, delicious.  I didn't have access to betel leaf, so I substituted 1 cup of shredded kale.

Here is Luke's Recipe:

300 g lean beef sirloin, thinly sliced
15 betel leaves, roughly sliced
1 lemon grass stalk (white part only), finely diced (peel off dry outer shell)
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 chili, finely diced
1 chili, finely sliced for garnish
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs coriander for garnish

In a smoking hot fry pan or wok, add vegetable oil and lemon grass and cook until fragrant, then add garlic and chili.

Now add beef and stir fry for 2 minutes, then season with fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Add betel leaf and stir fry for a further minute.

Transfer to a plate and garnish with sliced chili and coriander. Serve with jasmine rice.

TIP. When dicing lemon grass, always use a nice heavy sharp knife. If you have another one use two simultaneously.

Do not discard tips of a lemon grass stalk, steep it in hot water and drink it as lemon grass tea.
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I garnished mine with fried red onion (I buy this by the jar along with fried garlic, from my local Asian grocery store) and shredded Thai basil and served over a bowl of rice noodles.  Please be sure and use fresh lemongrass for this recipe - it won't be the same using lemongrass powder.

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