Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Salad

One of the many great things about living in Sydney is the diverse range of Asian food available…of which I’ve not even skimmed the surface of.

While I’ve had my share of Chicken and Snow Peas from the local Chinese takeout and been eating sushi and sashimi for years, I didn’t try Indian or Thai food until I was 18. Vietnamese until I was 20. This stuff was just not around on Long Island when I was growing up and living near Little Italy in college didn’t help.

Now these cuisines are among my favorites, even though I still have a lot to taste and learn. My attempts at cooking them often fall short, but I remain realistically obstinate.

Asian food is never going to be 100% authentic coming from my kitchen, but being able to capture the essence of these cuisines is a triumph for me.

Warm beef over fresh vegetables, herbs and light rice noodles topped with a tangy-spicy dressing and crunchy peanuts. It’s the perfect balance of light and filling – with plenty of exciting tastes and textures mingling about.

As for the beef, I’m a medium rare girl. Here are some tips from Food52 for cooking the perfect medium rare steak.

– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 tablespoon fish sauce
– juice of 1 lime
– 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 2 red chilis, deseeded and finely chopped
– 1 clove of garlic, minced

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad:
(Serves 2 as a main)
– 250 grams/8 ounces sirloin or flank steak
– salt and pepper
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– 150 grams/5 ounces cooked rice noodles*
– 1 large carrot, shredded
– 1 medium Lebanese cucumber, deseeded and cut into small sticks
– 4 green onions, light green and white parts finely chopped
– handful of torn mint leafs
– handful of coriander leafs
– 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts, chopped*

Place dressing ingredients together in a bowl or jar and whisk together. Set aside 1 tablespoon.

Brush the beef with the dressing that was set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium pan over a medium high heat. Add beef and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side depending on the cut of your beef and how you like it cooked.

Allow the beef to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it against the grain into thin strips.

Combine noodles, carrots, cucumber and green onions with the dressing (reserving at least a tablespoon or two extra). Toss well to combine. Top noodles with cooked beef, herbs, peanuts and a little more dressing. Serve warm or at room temp.

To cook rice noodles: Pour boiling water over noodles and let stand for 2-3 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain the noodles while toss a bit of cold water over them.
Toast peanuts in a dry skillet over a medium low heat for 5 minutes until golden and fragrant.


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