This is so vibrant, fresh and enjoyable; it’s one of my favourite dishes. Add as much variety of greens and rainbow shoots and leaves as you like. Here, I love the crunch, peppery and floral flavours of all sorts of leaves mixed with the invigorating lime, its zest and fiery chillies. True to a Vietnamese-style salad, adding rice noodles to it makes this a complete meal balanced with lots of exciting and exhilarating flavours of the summer season.
- Thinly slice the vegetables into rounds and mix in a bowl with a good sprinkling of salt. Set aside for 15 minutes. In another bowl, mix the sugar and cider vinegar and pour over the vegetables. Leave for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Slice the beef into 1 cm ( ½ in) strips. Mix together all the remaining beef ingredients except the onion and oil. Coat the beef in the marinade and leave for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- To prepare the salad, fry the spring onions gently in the oil for 5 minutes, then set aside. To make the salad dressing, place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well together or shake it up in a jar. Reserve the dressing until it is ready to be served at the table.
- Add the noodles to one side of a salad bowl and smother with the spring onion oil. Mix the remaining leaves and put in the other side of the bowl.
- To make the pickle, combine all the ingredients together in a bowl or use something pickled you already have in the fridge.
- Heat a frying pan (skillet) over a high heat until very hot. Add half the vegetable oil and half the onions, fry off for a minute, then add half the beef with the marinade. Separate the pieces with a cooking utensil and leave without stirring for 1–2 minutes, then quickly turn them to the other side, cook for a further minute and repeat twice more. Repeat for the remaining onions and beef. Portion into a space on the noodle bowl.
- Dress the salad at the table with the salad dressing. Add a sprinkling of nuts to the beef. Serve immediately.
Recipes excerpted with permission Vietnamese by Uyen Luu, published by Hardie Grant Books May 2021, RRP $32.50 Hardcover. Photos by Uyen Luu.