This weekend, we had a lot of company, so we prepared one of my favorite party recipes: bún bò nướng. This one-dish meal is the kitchen sink dish of Vietnamese cuisine. Tender, boneless beef is grilled and topped with mở hành (onion oil). Then the steak is thinly sliced and served with room-temperature vermicelli rice noodles, roasted peanuts, lettuce, cucumber, bean sprouts and mint. But we didn't stop the feast there; I added bánh cuốn (steamed roll cakes), fried sweet potato and shrimp (bánh tôm chiên dòn) and bì (shredded meat).
The whole bowl is flavored and drizzled with nước mắm chấm (fish sauce) and eaten with chopsticks. Give it a try and you'll want to eat this everyday!
The winner of this week's giveaway is Amanda O. (please contact me back so I can get your mailing address). Congratulations and I hope you enjoy using my first cookbook about gourmet potato dishes as much I did developing the recipes!
Servings: 6 servings
3 (10-ounce) rib-eye steaks
½ green papaya
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
1 teaspoon red chili powder
½ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
½ cup fish sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
6 pieces fried sweet potato and shrimp (bánh tôm chiên dòn)
6 pieces bánh cuốn (steamed roll cakes)
1½ cups bì (shredded meat)
1½ (16-ounce) package thick vermicelli rice noodles (bún in Vietnamese), cooked and cooled to room temperature
2 tablespoons store-bought dried fried shallots
2 cups lettuce, shredded
4 tablespoons perilla leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons Vietnamese mint, chopped
½ English cucumber, seeded and cut into matchstick pieces
1½ cups bean sprouts, rinsed
¼ cup củ kiệu (store-bought pickled spring onions), halved
For the ginger: Clean the ginger and peel it with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate about 1 inch of it with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root. Set aside.
For the papaya: Peel the papaya. Shred the papaya and grind about 2 tablespoons in a mortar and pestle.
Flavoring the beef: In a bowl, combine the ground papaya, ginger, garlic, sugar, 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, red chili powder and black pepper. Pat dry the steaks using paper towels. Cover with the marinade. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon oil, chill and marinate for at least 15 minutes. Remove the beef from the refrigerator so it returns to room temperature. Sprinkle with salt on both sides.
Making mở hành: In a wok, heat the oil. Add the green onions immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until shiny and fragrant without coloration. Set the onions aside with approximately 2-3 teaspoons oil, leaving the rest of the oil in the wok.
Cooking the beef: In the same wok, increase the heat. The oil should be really hot, almost to the smoking point. Using tongs (it's important that you do not pierce the meat, so it remains moist and tender), place the beef in the wok (over high heat) and cook for 3-4 minutes. You want to create a nice, caramelized crust. Flip the meat on the other side and cook for another 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Thinly slice the meat (make sure the steaks are sliced against the grain, so the meat remains tender) and cover with the shredded green papaya and the mở hành.
Assembly time: In an individual serving bowl, place a mixture of cucumber, pickled spring onions, bean sprouts, fried shallots, lettuce and mint. Cover with rice vermicelli noodles (called bún). Sprinkle with peanuts. Top with the sliced beef, bì, bánh cuốn and bánh tôm chiên. Drizzle with nước chấm.
There are other cuts of steak would also produce tender results, as opposed to those cuts that won’t. Sirloin, filet, porterhouse, T-bone, New York strip will all make a tender steak cooked this way, whereas things like flank steak or other more fibrous cuts would not.
All the ingredients listed above can be found in any Asian stores.