Whenever I’m in the mood to cook something complex and full of flavor, I always reach for my box of Vietnamese recipes.
Vietnamese food can be wild, versatile and easy to make in the comfort of your own home – and I think I have the perfect dish to share with you today.
Bun bo xa ot is an iconic Vietnamese recipe that combines sliced beef with lemongrass and chili to create a dish that simply encapsulates the authentic tastes of southeast Asia.
This classic dish is often served hot on a bed of sticky rice noodles and can be enjoyed by you and the whole family.
Down below you will find my step-by-step guide to cooking this delicious dish, as well as all the ingredients and measurements you will need to start the process.
If you adore cooking traditional Asian cuisine, then this dish is the perfect thing for you.
Step One: Make The Dipping Sauce
- Granulated Light Brown Sugar (4 tbsp)
- Lime Juice (4 tbsp)
- Rice Vinegar (3 tbsp)
- Red Boat Fish Sauce (4 tbsp)
- Garlic Cloves (x2, minced)
- Ginger (x1 1-inch piece, peeled and minced)
- Fresno Red Chili (x1, chopped)
- Hot Green Chili (x1, thinly sliced)
- Take a small bowl and pour in the sugar, rice vinegar and lime juice. Stir these ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.
- When fully combined, add in the garlic, ginger, chilis and fish sauce. (For this recipe I recommend using Red Boat fish sauce – although any high-quality fish sauce will do.)
- Take half a cup of water and add it to the mixture and then stir together until all the ingredients are combined.
- Once you have finished stirring the sauce, allow it to sit for 15 minutes until the flavors have melded.
Step Two: Marinate The Beef
- Sirloin Beef Steak (1 pound)
- Rice Noodles (12 ounces)
- Red Boat Fish Sauce (2 tbsp)
- Granulated Light Brown Sugar (1 tbsp)
- Garlic Cloves (x3, minced)
- Lemon Grass (3 tbsp, finely chopped)
- Find a large pot and fill it with water before placing it on medium-high heat and bringing it to a boil.
- Add the rice noodles to the boiling water and then stir gently. When the noodles have cooked, turn off the heat.
- You should then allow the rice noodles to soften for 5-8 minutes.
- When this time has passed, drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water.
- Leave the noodles in the colander at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Take the sirloin beef steak and cut it into thin, quarter-inch pieces using a knife. (For this recipe you can use any cut of beef – I just prefer to use sirloin.)
- When the beef has been equally sliced, take a mixing bowl and combine the fish sauce, sugar, garlic and lemongrass.
- Stir the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved and the flavors have combined.
- Place the beef strips into the mixing bowl and allow them to marinate in the mixture for 15 minutes.
Step Three: Cook The Beef
- Cooking Oil (2 tbsp)
- Take the cooking oil and pour 2 tablespoons into a wok before placing it over high heat. (If you do not own a wok, then you can instead use a cast iron skillet.)
- When the wok is beginning to smoke slightly, you can add in the beef and quickly stir-fry it until the meat has taken on a pale brown color and has only just cooked through.
- Then remove the wok from the heat and leave it at the side. (You may have to cook the meat in batches until all the beef has been equally cooked.)
Step Four: Prepare The Garnish
- Head of Lettuce (x1)
- Scallions (x4, sliced)
- Medium Carrot (x1)
- Small Cucumber (x1)
- Radish (x1)
- Shallot (x2)
- Crushed Peanuts (4 tbsp, optional)
- Bean Sprouts (a small handful)
- A mixture of mint, cilantro and basil leaves (1 cup – for decoration)
- When the meat has been cooked, set the wok aside and begin garnishing the serving bowls for the beef.
- Take a large serving dish or 4 individual eating bowls and line them with several lettuce leaves. (You can use any kind of lettuce, such as butter lettuce or little gems.)
- Once the dish or bowls have been lined with lettuce, take your rice noodles and layer them on top of the leaves.
- To begin preparing the rest of the garnish, take a medium carrot and cut it into 3-inch lengths before julienning it into thin slices and setting it aside.
- Find your small cucumber and cut it into 3-inch lengths before also julienning it into thin slices, set these aside with the carrot.
- Next, take the radish and also cut it into 3-inch lengths before julienning it into thin slices. Set the slices aside with the carrot and cucumber.
- Take 2 shallots and dice them into thin, circular slices using a kitchen knife.
- In a small saucepan, heat some oil over medium-high heat and add the shallots until they have turned a light golden brown.
- When the shallots have been fried, remove them from the saucepan and transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Allow them to cool until you are ready to use them.
- Get your dish or eating bowls and layer the lettuce and rice noodles with slices of julienned carrot.
- Repeat this process with the cucumber slices and the radish slices until the bowls have been equally garnished.
- Take the sirloin beef steak from the wok and layer it on top of the lettuce, rice noodles and vegetables.
- Sprinkle the beef noodles with the crushed peanuts, fried shallots and bean sprouts.
- Take a mixture of mint leaves, cilantro sprigs and basil leaves and lightly cover the dish with them, before drizzling it in the dipping sauce.
- Transfer the remaining dipping sauce to small bowls and place on the table, then serve the dish and enjoy!