While The Astronomer desires nothing more than a hunk of grilled lemongrass pork atop his bún (vermicelli rice noodles), I’ve got a soft spot for stir-fried steak, a dinnertime staple at my house growing up. Pork is almost always my protein of choice, but beef gets a slight edge here for its intrinsic juiciness, ease of preparation, and sweet onion companions. The way the meat’s drippings mingle with the marinade and the nước chấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce) gets me every time. You bet your boots I pick up my bowl and slurp up every last drop.
To ensure that the beef is cooked through and the onions are caramelized evenly, I prefer to prepare this dish in smaller batches. The beef to onion ratio can be altered depending on personal preferences. My family tends to go heavy on the onions, about 1.5 onions for every 1 pound of meat. Any uncooked meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for a few months.
While I love thịt bò xào hành tây best served over vermicelli rice noodles with fresh herbs, lettuce, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, toasted peanuts, scallion oil, and ladles of nước chấm, it also tastes stupendous served simply over steamed jasmine rice.
- 4 pounds flank steak, thinly sliced approximately 1/4 inch thick
- 3 large shallots, finely minced
- 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3/4 cup finely minced lemongrass
- 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus additional for stir frying
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce, plus additional for stir frying
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for stir frying
- 6 medium onions, sliced into “half moons” approximately 1/3 inch thick
Combine all ingredients from flank steak through vegetable oil in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the mixture to make sure that the marinade is evenly distributed and coats every slice of meat. Allow the meat to soak in the marinade overnight or for up to 24 hours.
In a large wok or non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onions along with a light sprinkling of salt, and saute until desired doneness is achieved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Some people may prefer onions with a little bite, but I like mine cooked through and lightly caramelized.
Add meat and saute until cooked through, about 2 minutes. If the meat tastes under-seasoned at this point, add in a few splashes of fish sauce. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Serve thịt bò Xào hành tây simply over steamed jasmine rice or a little more extravagantly over vermicelli rice noodles with all the fixings.
Serves 2 people for one week or 8 to 10 people in one sitting.
More family recipes on Gastronomy:
- Bánh Bột Lọc – Clear Shrimp and Pork Dumplings
- Bánh Cuốn – Vietnamese Rice Crepes with Ground Pork and Mushrooms
- Bánh Giò – Minced Pork and Rice Dumplings
- Bánh Mì Tôm Chiên – Shrimp Toasts
- Bò Bía – Vietnamese Jicama, Carrot, Chinese Sausage, Egg, and Dried Shrimp Rolls
- Bò Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew
- Bò Nướng Vĩ – Lemongrass Beef Grilled Tableside
- Bún Riêu Cua – Vietnamese Crab and Tomato Soup
- Cà Dê Nướng – Roasted Eggplant with Soy Sauce and Chilies
- Cà Ri Gà – Vietnamese Chicken Curry
- Canh Chua Chay – Vegetarian Sour Soup
- Chả Giò – Vietnamese Egg Rolls
- Cháo Chả – Porridge with Braised Pork Sausage
- Cơm Chiên – Vietnamese Fried Rice
- Gỏi Cuốn – Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Rolls with Hoisin Dipping Sauce
- Hủ Tiếu Mì – Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup
- Learning to Cook with Bà Ngoại
- Mom’s Lollipop Fried Chicken
- Nui Lòng – Grandpa’s Spaghetti with Offal
- Nước Chấm – Vietnamese Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- Phở Bò – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
- Phở Chay – Vegetarian Phở
- Thịt Kho – Caramelized Braised Pork and Eggs
- Thịt Nướng – Vietnamese Grilled Pork
- Đậu Hũ Kho – Braised Tofu with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
- Đậu Hủ Xả Ớt – Fried Tofu with Chilies and Lemongrass