We had a few days in Hanoi last September and absolutely loved it, particularly the food. While there we did a half day cooking course with an expat Aussie, Tracey Lister. She has also written a couple of cookbooks, the first of which is called KOTO. KOTO stands for know one, teach one and is a hospitality training centre designed to help disadvantaged young people. We ate at the KOTO restaurant while we there as well.
The book groups recipes by major regions and the recipe for lime-marinated beef salad is taken from the Dalat and the Central Highlands. It’s a pretty simple recipe but very tasty. Making it also gave me an excuse to visit the Little Saigon market in Footscray. I must visit this more often – it is such fun and great value – limes for 20c each for instance.
First you make up a marinade by dissolving 2tbsp of caster sugar into 4tbsp of lime juice and 3tbsp of fish sauce (use vietnamese fish sauce nuoc mam nhi if you can). To this add 2 garlic cloves, 1 stick of lemongrass and 1 deseeded long red chilli – all chopped. Cook a 500g piece of beef fillet in a lightly oiled medium pan for 8 to 10 mins, evenly browning all sides. Allow to rest for 10 mins before slicing thinly and toss through the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hrs. To serve remove beef from marinade and combine with 4 thinly sliced red shallots, a large handful of Thai basil leaves, a handful of rice paddy herb, a handful of mint leaves and 4 tbsp chopped roasted unsalted peanuts. Serve and top with fried shallots (I omitted this).