Lemon Cured Beef Salad (Goi Bo Tai Chanh) by Anthony of Food Affair Vietnam

fishing boats in vietnam bay

As part of our ongoing series of exploring Southeast Asian spices and cultures, we welcome Anthony Huynh – our representative of South Vietnam on the New Spice Route – to share the story and recipe of one of his favorite Vietnamese dishes using kaffir lime leavesLemon Cured Beef Salad (Goi Bo Tai Chanh)

[For more Vietnamese recipes, head over to Anthony’s blog, Food Affair Vietnam]

When we first arrived in Australia, my uncle and I settled in Cabramatta.  Having the largest concentration of Southeast Asian migrants resulted in a diverse variety of ethnic cuisine.  A tantalising selection of Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Thai delights at my door step.  It was vibrant, chaotic and constantly overflowing with shoppers.

Growing up, Yum Cha (Dim Sum) was a weekly treat.  Pho and Pork Chop with Broken Rice were regular dishes after school.  Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles was a typical takeaway dinner.  Green Papaya Salad and Lemon Cured Beef Salad when my uncle’s drinking buddies got together.

best thai papaya salad recipe

When I was invited by Reese & Mark of Season with Spice to participate in their Southeast Asian Spices feature, I was thrilled to jump on board.

Growing up in Cabramatta, I was fortunate to have access to some of the freshest produce.  Eastern cultures are obsessed with fresh ingredients, and have an insatiable appetite for fresh produce.  And therefore, will shop daily to ensure the best quality cooking ingredients.

Southeast Asian spices are incredible, amazingly aromatic, zesty, pungent and spicy.  Ginger, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, turmeric, white pepper, cassia bark (Vietnamese cinnamon), and star anise are just a few essential pantry items.

For this post, I turned to one of my favourite Vietnamese recipes - Lemon Cured Beef Salad.  This dish brings fond childhood memories of the get-togethers my uncle had with his drinking buddies.  They frequently met on weekends and would order Do Nhau (beer drinking food) from a local takeout. While the other kids were busy entertaining each other, I would sit with the adults and enjoy the food.

fresh crab and beer at the beach in vietnam

This deliciously simple salad of finely sliced beef, cured in lime juice, and tossed with fresh herbs is incredible.   It’s sweet, sour, slightly salty, soft and crunchy.  A perfect balance of textures and flavours – the qualities of a typical Southeast Asian salad.

[If you have concerns eating beef prepared in this method, using grilled beef is a fantastic alternative.]

spicy vietnamese salad with cured beef and kaffir lime leaves

Lemon Cured Beef Salad (Goi Bo Tai Chanh) recipe by Anthony of Food Affair Vietnam

300g sirloin, trimmed of fat and sliced as thinly as possible
3 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine white pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped and fried until crispy
1/4 cup of shallots, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of coriander, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of saw-leaf coriander, roughly chopped
1 cup of bean sprouts
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 tbsp of lemongrass, finely sliced
2 tbsp roasted peanuts
2 tbsp crispy fried Asian shallots
1 bird’s eye chili, sliced

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce):
4 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped

1. Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, pepper.
2. On a plate, arrange the sirloin on a single layer and marinate in the lime juice mixture for 10 minutes, ensuring all the meat is covered. Transfer to fridge until ready.
3. Meanwhile, prepare all the herbs and vegetables. Mix the nuoc cham and set aside.
4. Remove the sirloin from the lime mixture and drain the excess juice. Combine with the herbs, chilli, lemongrass, red onion and bean sprouts.
5. Transfer onto a serving plate and garnish with the fried garlic, crispy fried Asian shallots, peanuts and kaffir lime leaves.
6. Dress with nuoc cham and a squeeze of lime juice.

For more Vietnamese recipes, please visit Anthony at Food Affair Vietnam