Friday, 4 March 2016

Vietnamese Beef and Lemongrass

This particular dish has served me well on many occasions, not least because it involves a little prep and lot of sitting in the oven whilst you do whatever it is you do whilst you’re whiling away an afternoon

Vietnamese, if I’m honest is not a cuisine I’m overly familiar with, having only been to one Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of London’s china town, which wasn’t all that really
The flavours meld beautify together and reminds me of Thai Chilli beef with basil only different, if that makes sense

The lemongrass lends that slightly citrusy note and marries perfectly with the aniseed given off by the Star Anise. Chilli, Lime and Fish sauce are distinctly Thai, hence the previous comment that it tastes similar to a well visited Thai dish I often cook
But the beef, oh the beef! Braising steak when cooked slowly retains its texture but it really does fall apart and when combined with the aromatic flavours on offer paired with simple steamed rice is a delight

Braising steak 600g , diced

shallots 4 finely sliced
lemongrass 3 stalks  finely chop two of these removing the tough outer leaves
garlic 2 cloves  crushed
red chillies 2 chopped
kaffir lime leaves 3
star anise 2
vegetable stock 400ml
fish sauce 1 tbsp
lime 1 Juiced


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
In a large flameproof casserole dish (needs a lid as well for later on in the process) , brown the steak in a little oil, in batches as you need it to brown not stew, remove each batch as its browned. Try adding a little black pepper to each batch as you go, it adds a level of flavour.
Fry the shallots, garlic, chopped lemon grass and chilli for a minute or two, this will produce quite a pungent and eye watering odour so don’t stand over the dish for too long

Add the lime leaves, star anise and return the beef, finally add the stock and fish sauce.
Cover with a lid and place in the oven 1.5 to 2 hours, come back every 30 mins or so to check the liquid if its too dry add enough water to loosen it . If you do have to add water keep coming back every 15 mins or so to check the liquid level. Really, when finished you should have some liquid left to act as a sauce.

Before you’re ready to serve stir through the lime juice and taste, it should be fragrant, slightly sour and spicy.

You can also chuck loads of coriander at it if all the diners like it, if not just plonk a bowl full on the table
Serve with steamed rice and off you go.