Since I can remember, for special occasions, my family has always been going to this one restaurant called Favori. It's not the best restaurant in town, but it has always been a tradition, one that we still keep to this day. Anyways, no matter what, two things were always true. First, my sister and I always had to get their delicious pineapple shakes! Second, we always started with the Bo Tai Chanh appetizer, because well, they make it the best and it's one of my absolute favorites!
Well, I've always wanted to make this at home and I've been eyeing The Ravenous Couple's recipe for it for quite some time! Well I've finally made it, and with some improvisations of my own, it turned out to be quite the meal. Basically it's almost like a mix between beef carpaccio and ceviche; thinly sliced beef 'cooked' only by the acidity of either lime or lemon juice. Then, topped and mixed with all kinds of goodness (as you can see below).
The beef is beyond tender, then mixed with an uber refreshing combination of herbs, mixed with a tangy and sweet sauce, and you get the great texture from the toasted peanuts and fried shallots. Also, you can make it spicy if you want to, like I did, by adding tons more jalapeno or Sambal. I didn't have jalapeno or Vietnamese corriander on hand so I used Sambal for spiciness and a mix of cilantro, mint and other herbs.
Mmmmm, see all that red Sambal? That's my favorite!
Mise en place: Vietnamese herbs, fried shallots, fresh shallots, toasted peanuts, cilantro.
I know this looks gross, but it's informative: how the beef should look as it's 'cooking' in the lemon/ lime juice. I like my steak rare, but if you like it cooked more - just marinate it for longer.Bo Tai Chanh/ Vietnamese Beef 'Carpaccio'
Yields: 2 salad servings, 4 appetizer servings
Adapted from this recipe.
1/2 lb. beef (beef eye round or tenderloin), thinly sliced
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1 1/2 tbsn. sugar
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbsn. dried shallots (from Asian grocery stores)
2 tbsn. peanuts
2 tbsn. nuoc mam
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch of mint, basil or rau ram (Vietnamese corriander), coarsely chopped
In a large rimmed plate, spread the thinly sliced beef evenly throughout the plate so that it creates one even layer with the meat evenly exposed and not overlapping. In a small bowl mix together the lemon/lime juice and sugar until dissolved. Pour the mixture over the meat evenly and make sure all the meat is covered in the juice. Let the meat 'cook' in the juice in the refrigerator for 20 - 25 minutes (till the done-ness suits you). In the meantime, heat a small pan over medium high heat. Add the peanuts and toast until fragrant and golden brown. In the same pan, add enough oil to create a very shallow pool (about 1/4 cup) and heat. Once hot, add the dried shallots and fry until golden brown, then drain on a paper towel. Once the meat is ready, drain and squeeze any excess juice from the meat. In a bowl, toss together the meat, raw shallots, herbs and nuoc mam until dressed well. Assemble on a plate, then top with the fried shallots and toasted peanuts. Add more nuoc mam, if desired. Enjoy!
Mise en place.
The best mix of textures and flavors, seriously.