Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bún Thịt Bò Xào (Vermicelli with Stir-Fried Beef)

For my fourth visit at my friends T & R to do my taxes (don't ask...), I promised to bring dinner over too. I haven't really cooked them Vietnamese food so I thought I would make bún thịt bò xào (vermicelli with stir-fried beef).

Bún thịt bò xào is typically eaten in a bowl. You put some bún (rice vermicelli) in a bowl, add beef, some vegetables and nước chấm. This is how Vietnamese eat many dishes, such as chả giò (spring rolls) and thịt nướng (grilled meat). I like to roll my bún thịt bò xào in rice paper instead. I asked my T & R bowl or roll, and they voted roll!

Bún Thịt Bò Xào (Vermicelli with Stir-Fried Beef)
This is really a recipe on how to stir fry beef. You can try this with other meats than beef too; Wandering Chopsticks made it with venison!

Tip #1: To slice beef thinly, freeze it slightly or thaw it slightly. It's a lot easier to slice something hard.
Tip #2: The secret to not having tough meat is adding a bit of baking soda. That's what Chinese restaurants do.

* 250 g beef, such as stirloin tip
* ½ tsp salt
* 1 tsp sugar
* 1 Tbsp minced lemongrass (can be purchased frozen)
* a few dashes of garlic powder
* a bit of dried chili flakes - if you want a bit of a kick
* ¼ tsp baking soda
* bit of sesame oil
* oil of your choice
* ¼ onion, thinly sliced
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* oyster sauce (I actually used the vegetarian kind because that's all I had)

Slice beef thinly - the trick to slice beef thinly is to have it frozen, and slightly thawed, much easier to slice!
Mix sliced beef with salt, sugar, lemongrass, garlic powder, chili, baking soda and sesame oil.
Let it marinate for an hour if you can.
Heat up oil and stir fry onion and garlic until soft.
Add the beef and continue stir frying.
When the beef is almost cooked, add a few dashes of oyster sauce and mix. Add some water if the mixture is too dry.

Serve with:
* lettuce, washed and torn
* cucumber, sliced
* vermicelli, cooked
* rice paper
* nước chấm

Serve everything in a bowl or roll it in rice paper.

Sliced semi-frozen beef.

Lettuce, cucumbers and mint to roll with.

Vermicelli. Doesn't look that appealing, eh? But it's good with everything else.

Stir fried beef.

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