Vietnamese Satay Chilli Beef with Vermicelli
This is something my mother created and I grew up eating regularly. I still haven’t learnt how to make Vietnamese satay chilli sauce but it’s definitely on the list of things to do but it’s a key part of this dish. We’ve very lucky that in Melbourne, I can easily visit a local Asian grocery story and find a good quality jar of it. It’s one of my favourite condiments to eat with Pho and I’m always on the look at for the different versions in all the Vietnamese restaurants.
200g beef rump, sliced thinly into strips
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch + 1 tsp
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Vietnamese Satay Chilli Sauce (I use the My Huong brand)
2 tbsp rice bran oil (or any neutral oil of your choice)
150g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ Lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
Mix the beef slices, a quarter of the sliced garlic, half a teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of fish sauce, half a teaspoon of corn starch and a pinch of salt together in a non-reactive bowl. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
When ready to cook the beef, firstly prepare the corn starch mixture by mixing the oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat up the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and the rest of the sliced garlic to the oil and sauté till fragrant but only lightly coloured. Add the marinated beef to the wok and cook until browned all over.
Add the satay chilli sauce to the beef and stir fry till the beef is evenly coated. Reduce the heat to low before pouring the corn starch mixture over the beef. Stir fry everything together and add extra water to create a sauce. I start with a ¼ cup of water and add tablespoons of water as I go – you just don’t want to dilute the flavour too much and the sauce should be thick enough to coat the noodles but don’t forget it will continue to thicken as it sits there. Don’t add so much water though that it dilutes the flavour.
To serve, divide the vermicelli between two bowls and top with the beef as soon as it’s done. Add the tomatoes and cucumber before scattering peanuts and fried shallots over both bowls. This dish is best eaten whilst the beef is hot.