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
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.