February 28th, 2014
Bún Bò Xào is a common and easy-to-make Vietnamese dish which is basically stir-fried beef over rice noodles. As a quick Vietnamese lesson, bún means noodles; bò (or thịt bò) means beef; and xào means stir-fried or sautéed. This dish is sometimes called a salad because the noodles do not necessarily need to be piping hot, and you get a healthy dose of cold vegetables served right in the bowl. The noodles themselves should be rice noodles that are white after being cooked, not to be confused with bean thread noodles that turn clear when cooked. Unfortunately, in my case, I didn’t realize I ran out of rice noodles, so I only had the vermicelli bean thread on hand.
The majority of this dish is prep work, with only the marinated beef and the noodles that really need to be cooked, which will explain the lack in pictures. The garnishes are optional, but make for an authentic dish. You can also add a few other garnishes such as Thai basil. The bean sprouts can be served raw, or they can be blanched, if you’re worried about recent sprout health concerns.
Overall, this is a delicious dish to make. If you’re not a noodle fan, you are welcome to serve the beef over rice, and with the same garnishes and dipping sauce.
Lemongrass Beef Noodle Salad (recipe page can be found here)
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp. lemongrass, finely minced
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Mint, whole leaves or sliced
Pickled carrots (see below)
Roasted peanuts, crushed
Bean sprouts (optionally blanched)
Cucumbers, sliced or julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water, or to taste
Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nước chấm):
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Thai chiles, minced or sliced
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
10 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1. Combine the beef shaved steak with the marinade ingredients and mix well. Set aside and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
2. Combine the carrots with the sugar, vinegar, and water to make the pickled carrots. You can vary the water, based on how sour you’d like the pickled carrots. Set aside.
3. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions and set aside.
4. As the noodles are cooking, you can prepare the dipping sauce. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
5. In a heated wok or skillet, add 2 tbsp. of cooking oil over high heat. Toss in the marinated beef steak and cook until browned, about 7 minutes.
6. Once the steak is cooked, you can start plating. In a bowl, place a handful of noodles. Top the noodles with each of the garnishes, and a portion of the cooked lemongrass beef steak. Serve with a side of the dipping sauce.
7. Each person should put as much of the dipping sauce as they choose. Stir well and enjoy!