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Recipe: Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Salad

Close your eyes and imagine sitting under the shade of a Banyan tree, the scent of lemongrass & grilled meat filling in the air. Can you smell it? Get that summer holiday vibe with a delicious bowl of Lemongrass Beef salad by @cookingwithelsy. If you don't love beef, swap it out for your favourite protein (chicken, prawns & tofu all work well).

INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)

For the salad:

1 tsp peppercorns
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bruised, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
400g beef rump steak , cut into 2mm-thick slices
250g rice vermicelli
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
140g (2 cups) shredded iceberg lettuce
1 small carrot, peeled, cut into julienne
1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups bean sprouts
40g (1/2 cup) Asian fried shallots (see note)

For the dressing:

1 red bird's eye chilli, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
60ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tsp caster sugar

METHOD

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound peppercorns, lemongrass and garlic to a rough paste. Transfer paste to a large bowl, add fish sauce and sugar, then stir until well combined. Add steak and turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
  2. Meanwhile, to make lime-chilli dressing, using a mortar and pestle, pound chilli and garlic to a paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and whisk in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and 60ml (1/4 cup) water. Set aside. Makes 3/4 cup.
  3. Place noodles in a large bowl, then cover with boiling water and stand for 4 minutes or until softened. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Using scissors, cut noodles into 8cm lengths and divide among large bowls.
  4. Place cucumber, lettuce, carrot, Thai basil and mint on top of noodles in separate small piles.
  5. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Cook marinated steak, in 2 batches, tossing, for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Divide steak among bowls and drizzle with dressing. Top with bean sprouts, peanuts and Asian fried shallots to serve.