Culture Street


Lemongrass Beef

On September 4, 2015


Frying meat in a wok is easy, provided you follow three simple rules – cut the meat thinly, brown it well and, of course, the cardinal rule, never overcrowd the wok. This is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes and because there are no vegetables to worry about, you can just focus on getting the flavour of the wok-cooked meat just right.

¼ cup peanut oil
500g rump steak, sirloin or flank, very thinly sliced
1 small brown onion, peeled and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, tender white part only, minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large red chilli, sliced diagonally
2 tbsp fish sauce
1½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat a wok over very high heat until smoking, add half the oil and fry the beef in batches until well browned all over then remove from the wok.

2. Add the remaining oil to the wok and fry the onion, lemongrass, garlic and chilli until the onions are softened and the ingredients are fragrant and starting to brown. Return the beef to the wok and toss with the fish sauce, sugar and black pepper for about 2 minutes. Remove from the wok and allow to rest for a minute before serving.

If you use the woody parts of the lemongrass or don’t cut it into small enough pieces, the dish will have a gritty texture. If the lemongrass is especially woody, whizz it in a food processor instead of chopping it. Fry the beef with the lemongrass mixture for a minute before adding the fish sauce. This will help brown the meat and caramelise the lemongrass
for good wok hei. Taste any wok-fried dish before you finish cooking so you can adjust
seasoning to suit your tastes.

Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery SchoolRecipe and images from Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School by Adam Liaw, published by Hachette Australia, $49.99. Buy the book here.

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