Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rau Muong Tron Thit Bo - Beef Water Spinach Salad

Firstly I like to wish everybody a happy new year!  May 2014 bring you lots of luck, love, prosperity, laughter, and of course good food!  I'm sorry for my absence but it was much needed.  I got the opportunity to travel so I disconnected myself from all social media and just appreciate what was in front of me.  This upcoming year marks my 6th year blogging, thank you everybody for your support all these years.  I can't wait to share new recipes inspired from my travels.

I'm a huge fan of Vietnamese drinking food.  Whenever I'm on vacation, I always look for a good restaurant to "nhau".  Nhau refers to getting together to eat and drink.  Getting together to drink is a way of life for Vietnamese men, they often get together several times a week.  They meet each other at a small restaurant that specialize in a specific protein.  Men sit for hours slowly drinking and enjoying delicious food.  You rarely see women at those type of establish but why deprive yourself from good food?

Rainier BBQ in Seattle, Washington is one of my personal favorite.  They have a variety of drinking food and everything I've tried has been pretty good.  One of my favorite dish is a beef salad with rau muong (water spinach).  It reminds me of Bo Tai Chanh another one of my favorite.  It's so refreshing with the finely julienned water spinach stem and dressed in a tangy dressing.  It's so addicting to eat, one serving is never enough!  The best part is how easy you can recreate this dish at home.  If anyone is complaining about eating too much salads this is the one you need to try!  I hope you like my interpretation is flavorful dish, enjoy!

Ingredients:

water spinach stem (julienned)
1 lb beef (thinly sliced)
1/2 onion (finely sliced)
garlic (minced)
shallots (minced)
lime
fresh chili
fresh mint leaves (rough chopped)
vinegar
sugar
fish sauce
cooking oil

1.  Prepare the water spinach.  There is a tool you can use to julienned your water spinach easily.  Or you can use a razor but that require a little experience. http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/06/water-spinach-s.html  Let it soak in water so it will curls and then drain completely.
2.  You can use eye round beef if you prefer lean meat but I like some texture and fat so I used rib eye.  Marinade the beef with garlic, shallots, and fish sauce (~2 tablespoon).
3.  Marinade the slice onion with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 tablespoon of vinegar.
4.  For the dressing combine 5 tablespoon of sugar, 4 tablespoon of lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, and 5 tablespoon of fish sauce.  The sauce should be sweet, tangy, and salty.  You can add more sugar, vinegar, and fish sauce to your liking.  Make sure you mix the sauce well so the sugar dissolves.
5.  Heat up a frying pan with some oil and cook the beef.  I cook mine about medium rare, the dressing will cook it some more.
6.  Mix the water spinace, sliced onions, and mint leaves together.  Move it to a serving platter.  Pour the meat mixture on top, and then the dressing on top.  I use about half the dressing, and reserve the remainder for later if needed.
7.  Top with chopped chili and more mint leaves if prefer.
8.  Toss lightly before eating, enjoy!