For my final Beef Sessions dinner, after starting in Vietnam, heading through Irish-America, with a stop over in Cajun country, and hopping across the Atlantic to visit France, I thought it only appropriate that I take the journey full circle back to Vietnam for a blow out on my motherland’s offerings of beefy deliciousness.
What better way to take this journey than through an interpretation of Bo Bay Mon – 7 courses beef – A special Vietnamese meal where the chef takes diners through seven very different preparations of beef – a bit of a sampler class on Vietnamese beef cuisine.
Using this bovine framework, I put together a meal of some of my favorite high lights of Vietnamese dishes through my Vietnamese-American-International-Food-Lovin’ interpretation. There are only 5 courses with beef, but I figured we’d need some veggies to go with all that meat!
Here’s the menu:
- Honey Lime Soy Flank Steak & Mango Spring Rolls
- Beef & Pork Cabbage Rolls of Love
- Bo Luc Lac – “Shaking” Beef – Seared Tenderloin cubes over fresh tomato & spinach
- Bo La Lot – Lemongrass & curry spiced beef wrapped in Betel Leaf
- Bo Tai Chanh – Vietnamese Beef “Ceviche”
- Green Papaya Salad
- Watercress sauteed with garlic & soy sauce
Some dishes are well known dishes that I knew would be crowd pleasers.
Others were my first forays into trying something traditional I hadn’t made before.
And still other dishes came from the warm memories of my mother’s kitchen – dishes served simply for weekday meals after all the soccer practices, homework, and piano lessons were done.
My mother, who worked full time and always proclaimed to hate cooking, still managed to ensure that each night our family would sit down together to a delicious home cooked dinner. Those lessons about the importance of sitting down together for a meal have stayed with me from the days I left home to explore the world on my own.
In college, we gathered around dorm kitchen tables, or sometimes just one pot of rice. In my first working days, I dragged home a second hand dinner table with chairs to my tiny one-bedroom apartment on the third floor, so I could host dinner parties in this new city I was sure would yield me some new friends to invite for dinner. As I’ve gotten older and learned more in the kitchen, my hosting style has grown and morphed along with the set of guests sitting down at my table.
But through it all, the heart of the experience remains the same: Food made with lots of love and shared among warm company. There is nothing more fundamental to the richness of life than this.
Last night, we dined on the roof with a perfect spring breeze as the sun sank low to make way for the twinkling of the city lights to take center stage. Gentle music set the relaxed mood, and I swear I had found a perfect slice of heaven here on earth.
Follow below for the recipe for Bo Luc Lac – “Shaking” Beef! A simple, but very tasty dish. Adapted from Rasa Malaysia’s version by way of Ravenous Couple
Servings: 4-8 depending on if you serve it as the main course or one of many courses.
2 lbs of beef tenderloin (other tender cuts like sirloin tips could work well too)
4-6 cloves garlic
2 TB sugar
2 TB oyster sauce
1 TB fish sauce
1 tsp dark/sweet/thick soy sauce
1 TB sesame oil
1/2 bag fresh baby spinach or watercress
1. Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and set aside.
2. Peel & mince the garlic
3. In a bowl, combine the garlic, sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, sesame oil. Stir to combine, then pour over the meat cubes and toss to coat. Marinate 45 min – 1.5 hrs. .
4. While waiting, get a serving platter and lay out some spinach or watercress. Slice the tomatoes in half-moons and lay them in a ring around the edge of the plate. Chill covered until ready to cook the meat.
5. Heat up your pan with some oilive oil till it is SMOKIN hot!. Add the meat in batches and allow the meat to sear on one side before flipping over. When a batch is done to about medium to medium-rare,pour the meat directly from the pan onto the platter of tomatoes and greens you already prepared. This allows the juices &heat from the meat to partially wilt the greens for a lovely flavor.
6. Repeat until done with all the meat and serve with rice.
Stay tuned for more recipes from this meal! …
*Note – Over the next few weeks, expect to see a lot of delicious BEEF recipes here at Cookie Loves Eating, sponsored by the Texas Beef Council! There will be 4 sessions total, so get ready to get BEEFY with me!! C