This Vietnamese Salad is a complete meal on its own: meat, fresh veggies, rice noodles, and a punchy dressing.
Depending on your mood, you can either serve it on lettuce leaves or on rice noodles. For a warm salad, serve it as soon as the steaks are done. Alternatively, it can be made in advance and refrigerated to serve as a cool refreshing summertime dish.
VIETNAMESE BEEF SALAD
(Serves 4 as a main course)
200-250g/8oz rice noodles or 200g/8oz lettuce leaves
450-600g/1 lb-1.4lb of steaks
50g/2oz radishes (around 5 radishes), thinly sliced
30g/1oz/6 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
30g/1oz/6 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
3 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers/capsicums (around 200g/8oz) (preferably different colors), thinly sliced
1 large/2 small cucumbers (around 300g/10oz), quartered and sliced
Peanuts, optional garnish
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 lemongrass stalks (or zest of 1 small lime)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 tsp sugar (preferably brown)
2-3 inches fresh ginger, grated or sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced or 1/8 tsp red chilli powder
- Dressing: (Ideally, you will need to use a blender or food processer with a small bowl to make the dressing. If you don’t have a blender, I will give you an alternate method below*). Prepare the lemongrass stalks by chopping off the root end and the top half of the stalk and discarding. Peel 1-2 layers off the outside of the lemongrass and discard. Chop the remaining lemongrass and put it into your blender.
- Add all the other dressing ingredients into the blender (except for the fresh red chilli) and blend until smooth. (NOTE: if you are using chilli powder, you can put that into the blender with the rest of the ingredients. But if you are using a fresh chilli, leave it out of the blender. The fresh chilli should be dropped in at the end when the dressing is fully blended so that its heat infuses slowly into the dressing rather than being blended in which makes it too spicy.)
- *If you are not using a blender, you can make this dressing in a jar, but use the zest of 1 small lime instead of using lemongrass, and grate the ginger finely on a cheese-grater.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Salad: Chop all the vegetables and herbs as stated above (in the ingredients section), except for the peanuts which will be a garnish at the end. Mix well, add the dressing and toss evenly. Refrigerate.
- Noodles/Lettuce: Cook the noodles according to the package. With rice noodles, this can either be simply soaking them or actually boiling them for a short while. Do not let them overcook. Drain the noodles, toss with a little oil (sesame, groundnut, walnut) to prevent from sticking, and allow to cool. Once they are room at room temperature, you can toss them with the vegetables and dressing. If you prefer, you can serve with lettuce instead of noodles.
- Beef: Pan-fry or grill your steaks to your taste. Season afterwards with salt and pepper. Allow to rest 5 minutes, then slice thinly at an angle.
- If you are serving the salad immediately, you can place the steak slices neatly on top of the noodles and vegetables. If you are going to refrigerate the salad for a while, I recommend tossing the beef in with the salad.
- Garnish with peanuts (optional).
- Stays well in the fridge for upto 24 hours.