Monday, December 17, 2007

Banh Hoi Bo La Lop

Tonight I made some awesome (though somewhat unbefitting a cold, wet December evening) banh hoi bo lan lop (Vietnamese grilled beef lettuce wraps) for dinner. These fit nicely into my diet menu, with only 280 calories for 5 rolls' worth of meat, lettuce, fresh cilantro, basil and cucumber, all dipped in that unctuous nước chấm that I love so much. I based the recipe on my interpretation of Tanh Dinh's salad rolls (where Scott and I ate a coupla weeks ago). You can wrap these in rice papers for a higher level of authenticity, but I don't think it's totally necessary. Served with rice noodles (in the wrap or on the side), it's a complete meal.

Banh Hoi Bo La Lop (serves 2)

8 oz beef eye of round, thinly sliced
2 tsp rice wine (sake works)
2 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tbsp chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1/4 tsp. sesame oil (I used black sesame oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 green onion, thinly sliced
pinch S&P
10 lettuce leaves (I like butter or bibb the best, but romaine or iceberg are fine)
1 cup
do chua* (pickled shredded carrot and daikon)
1/2 c thinly sliced cucumber
few sprigs basil
few sprigs cilantro
I guess some fresh lime if you like
1 cup
nước chấm for dipping (recipe follows)

*(Do chua can be found in a SE Asian grocery that has a deli. Otherwise, you can either use un-pickled shredded carrot and daikon, or pickle your own in rice vinegar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. It prolly takes a coupla days in the fridge. This will also go on the banh mi I plan to make later this week.)

Mix rice wine, fish (or soy) sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, shallot, green onion and S&P in a bowl and marinate the beef for at least 20 minutes.

(I added a sprinkle of black sesame seed for flair.)

Whilst you're marinading the beef, wash the lettuce leaves and make nước chấm.

Nước chấm (pronounced "nook chom")

1/2 c fish sauce
juice from half a lime or 2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp grated carrot
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili paste
2 tbsp water

Stir until sugar is dissolved. You can add chopped peanut if you want, but that shit's got a lot of calories, and beef's got plenty of protein.

After the beef is nice and marinate-y, throw it onto a hot grill pan and cook for like 30 seconds on each side. This cut gets tough if overcooked, so go ahead and live on the edge: eat it medium-rare.

To serve, arrange everything on a platter and eat by placing beef, cukes, herbs and do chua into lettuce leaf and roll the it up into a little salad roll. Dip in nước chấm. Curl toes.

Disclaimer: I AM A WHITE GIRL. Please, if something is unauthentic, lemme know! I want to learn from you. I love Asian people! Let's be BFFs.


T X 3 said...

oh my god. I'm Vietnamese/Chinese and I've never made Vietamese food look so good. No offense but if I had to be roomies with a white girl, it would be you! That looks amazing!! I'm hungry. >=[

Great job! Where'd you learn how to cook that?

Heather said...

Tx3 - You are so sweet! I taught myself how to cook Vietnamese food by eating a lot of it. I live in a city with a large Viet /Lao population so I have access to good Asian markets.