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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled Beef - Bò Nướng Vĩ

It is finally Summer! Hooray for warm weather and long days! I like to enjoy the season by grilling outdoors with the obligatory family and friends. And when my guests can do their own cooking, it's even better! Bo Nuong Vi is the perfect dish for self-cooking and assembly. I can just sit back and let the guests man their own food.

Watch now: Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled Beef (Bo Nuong Vi) A do-it-yourself, table-top grilling Vietnamese dish with thinly sliced beef, marinated in lemongrass, wrapped in rice paper with an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Bo Nuong Vi is a Vietnamese dish where thinly sliced beef is quickly seared with onions and butter on a small griddle at the center of a table. Guests grill the beef themselves and assemble their own wraps with softened rice paper, grilled beef, and an assortment of fresh vegetables and Vietnamese herbs. They cook as they go, so each beef wrap is still piping hot and delicious. The wraps get dunked in either a traditional but pungent pineapple-fermented anchovy sauce (Mam Nem) or a more tamed Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham). A little cooking, a little talking, a little eating. It's the perfect way to enjoy time a get-together and good food. Happy grilling!

Bò Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng - Grilled lemongrass beef wraps

Bò Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng - Grilled lemongrass beef wraps

bo nuong vi.jpg

Vietnamese Beef Marinade

2 lbs beef chuck
1/3 cup minced lemongrass
1 thinly sliced small onion
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

The cut of beef I use for Bò Nướng Vĩ is beef chuck. Look for one with a good distribution of fat (marbelization). This helps to keep the meat moist and flavorful when grilling. Have your butcher slice the beef chuck against the grain into thin strips. Take it home and cut it up into large bite-sized pieces. If you don't have a butcher that will slice the beef thin for you, put the meat in the freezer until it is firm but not frozen. Use a sharp knife and thinly slice the beef. The partially frozen meat will keep the meat sturdy for a better slicing experience. And if you're anything like me, have some band-aids around too ;-)

Vietnamese Lemongrass Grilled Beef (Bo Nuong Vi)

Ingredients

Beef

  • 2 lbs beef chuck (slice thinly against the grain into bite-sized pieces or long strips)
  • 1/3 cup minced lemongrass
  • 1 thinly sliced small onion
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 stick butter

Fresh Vegetables / Rice Paper

  • 1 package large rice paper
  • English Cucumbers (slice into long strips)
  • Pineapples (slice into long strips)
  • Leafy lettuce
  • Mint (Rau Hung)
  • Perilla (Rau Ti To)
  • Sorrel (Rau Chua)

Dipping Sauces

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together lemongrass, onion, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, orange juice, sesame oil, garlic powder and optional red pepper flakes. Add sliced beef and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in fridge for best results.
  2. Heat up the the griddle and melt a tablespoon of butter at a time. Add a portion of beef and quickly grill for 2-3 minutes.
  3. To assemble the wraps, lightly wet the rice paper until limp. Add grilled beef and your favorite vegetables. Roll up the rice paper and eat with dipping sauce.
Bo Nuong Cuon Banh Trang - Grilled lemongrass beef wraps

Bo Nuong Cuon Banh Trang - Grilled lemongrass beef wraps

Fried Pork Fat (Tép Mỡ)

The last time I made fried pork fat (tép mỡ), it almost costed me an eye. I didn't remove the skin from the fat and coincidentally learned that small bits of pork skin explode in hot oil. Dodging hot oil splatters was no fun and the mess that was left in the kitchen ... I almost cried.

Why was I frying up pork fat? If you have ever visited a well-loved Chinese egg noodle soup venue in the heart of Chinatown, you will notice that they take great pride in their noodle soups (and not so much their customer service). You put up with the verbal abuse because their noodle soups are simply amazing. And what makes it amazing is the detail in the little components that make up the noodle soup. One of which is the fried pork that tops each bowl. It's this simple addition that elevates the noodle soup to the next level of awesome.

If you are lucky enough to have an Asian supermarket around you, you may be able to get free pork fat from the butcher in the back. If not, you can use fat from a big slab of pork belly or gather up pork fat from pork trimmings.

You can fry pork fat in advance and keep them in an air tight container at room temperature for a couple of days or months in the fridge. Before using, toast them up quickly or give them a quick blanch in hot oil. Fried pork fat, the Vietnamese equivalent of bacon bits, is a great addition to any noodle soups and it is what makes the world go round.

Egg noodle soup topped with pork fried fat (tep mo)

Egg noodle soup topped with pork fried fat (tep mo)

Vietnamese Fried Pork Fat Recipe (Tép Mỡ)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork fat

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork fat into 1/4-inch cubes.
  2. Add the pork fat directly into a dry pan or wok. Oil will render out from the pork fat as they crisp up. Occasionally stir to prevent burning from the bottom. Be patient as the pork fat might take anywhere from 7-10 minutes to crisp up and turn golden brown.
  3. Once golden brown, transfer the pork fat with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Spread out fried pork fat evenly to dry.