Thursday, August 12, 2010

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Steak and Water Spinach Salad)

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 1

Crunch.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Raw curled water spinach stems perfectly complement warm steak in a light fermented tofu dressing. Think of it as a steak salad version of Rau Muong/Ong Choy Xao Chao (Vietnamese/Chinese Water Spinach with Fermented Tofu). I used red fermented bean curd, which gave the dressing a nice pop of color. Tossed some pickled onions on top.

I first encountered another version of this salad, with lightly stir-fried water spinach at Xanh Bistro - Fountain Valley several years ago. When I tried recreating it at home, just sauteed water spinach didn't seem special enough for me. I then tried lightly sauteing the curled water spinach stems, but they rapidly wilted.

The lovely part about curled water spinach stems, and really why they're popular as a garnish in soups, is because they stay crisp when warm ingredients are added. So for a summer salad, even as leftovers, the water spinach stems stay nice and crunchy.



Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 2

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Steak and Water Spinach Salad)

For 2 servings as a meal and 4 servings as a side, you'll need:
1 bunch water spinach, stems & a few young leaves
1/2 lb beef steak of your choice
1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or 1/2 tsp steak seasoning of your choice
1/4 tsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cube Chao/Doufu Ru (Vietnamese/Chinese Fermented Bean Curd)
Hanh Dam (Vietnamese Vinegared Onions)

Marinate your steak with either 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper or 1/2 tsp steak seasoning of your choice. Pour 1/4 tsp fish sauce and 1 tsp soy sauce. Set aside to marinate.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 3

Make the Hanh Dam (Vietnamese Vinegared Onions) and set aside so they can soften.

Goi Ga Bap Cai (Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad) 2

Use a Dao Che Rau Muong (Vietnamese Water Spinach Splitter) to curl the water spinach stems, adding a few young leaves if you wish. Add 1/4 tsp salt to the water and set aside so the stems can curl. Save the leaves and remaining stems to make Rau Muong/Ong Choy Xao Chao (Vietnamese/Chinese Water Spinach with Fermented Tofu).

Dao Che Rau Muong (Vietnamese Water Spinach Splitter) 10


Ready to cook the steak?

On medium-high heat, in a black steel or cast iron or other heavy pan, add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the steak, sans liquid marinade.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 4

Depending on the thickness of the steak, this will take anywhere from two minutes to 10, flip the steak when you see the meat cooked about halfway.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 5

Flip and cook the other side. This literally took me two minutes each side, but then my steak was rather small.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 6

Leave the steak to rest at room temperature.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 7

Turn the heat down to medium and add any leftover marinade and 1/4 cup water to the pan. Add one cube of fermented bean curd.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 8

Mush the bean curd and mix it into the liquid. Taste and adjust if necessary. Once the dressing has slightly thickened to your liking, turn off the heat and let it rest in the pan.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 9

Drain the water spinach stems.

Dao Che Rau Muong (Vietnamese Water Spinach Splitter) 11

Now, you can finally slice the steak into thin strips.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 10

Plate the water spinach stems, tearing apart any long curls so they'll be easier to eat.

Dao Che Rau Muong (Vietnamese Water Spinach Splitter) 12

Add the steak and vinegared onions. Pour the warm dressing over everything.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 11

Eat as a meal, or as a side salad. It also keeps well in the fridge if like cold steak salad as leftovers. The stems will retain their crunch. I actually like the salad even better as leftovers because it's had more time to absorb the marinade.

Xa Lach Thit Bo Rau Muong (Vietnamese Beef and Water Spinach Salad) 12

Enjoy!

Other Vietnamese salads you might like:
Goi Buoi Tom (Vietnamese Pomelo Salad with Shrimp)
Goi Cu Sen Non Tom Thit (Vietnamese Young Lotus Root Salad with Shrimp and Pork)
Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Salad/Spring/Summer Rolls)
Goi Du Du Kho Bo (Vietnamese Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky)
Goi Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)
Goi Ga Bap Cai (Vietnamese Chicken Cabbage Salad)
Goi Mit Non Tom Thit Heo (Vietnamese Green Jackfruit Salad with Pork and Shrimp)
Goi Xoai Xanh (Vietnamese Green Mango Salad)
Xa Lach Thit Bo (Vietnamese Steak Salad)

*****
1 year ago today, Butterfly Restaurant (Pier 33) - San Francisco (Embarcadero).
2 years ago today, a guide to the coconut products I keep in my kitchen -- coconut milk, coconut powder, and Coco Rico.
3 years ago today, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant - Pasadena (Foothill Blvd.).

11 comments:

  1. what a gorgeous looking plate of food

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  2. My god! You just made me salivate!

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  3. great recipe wc! steak in salad is always a good combination!

    btw, i bought some vintage plates and candlesticks...now i need me some epoxy so i can make my own cake stands! thanks for the inspiration! my thrift store finds weren't as inexpensive as yours though. :(

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  4. I am also salivating. I don't know if I've ever had water spinach salad (probably not). Looks very good, though!

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  5. And I return from hiatus - only to go on hiatus again! (I'm moving. Very sudden development, which coincides with a weekend show I'm having, so my stress levels are at record highs now.)

    This looks -very- interesting. I have to admit that I'm not fond of Chinese water spinach, but I do think I have to try this now just to see how it tastes like.

    And I've still been reading! Just not had as much time to reply as I'd like to. Just wait till I'm settled into the new place, there's a big kitchen and I can cook more of your stuff and tell you how it comes out!

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  6. Justin,
    Thanks!

    Jujuwa,
    Haha. Thanks!

    CC,
    I thought you were gonna use your stash of vintage china? You can find epoxy at Jo-Ann or Home Depot.

    Rita,
    Haha.

    Marie,
    Come over! I'll make it again for you.

    Shuku,
    No apologies needed. I get caught up with real life many, many times. Show? For your jewelery? I hope you blog about it. I'd like to see how it went. I looove water spinach. It's more (wo)man's food, but so healthy and tasty.

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  7. WC,

    The show is actually for our vocal quartet; we just came back from the World Choir Games in China so we're doing a Post-China Show. :) I'll definitely blog about it, just trying to get up enough energy to do it when not packing!

    I -must- try this water spinach dish and make some kimchi when I get moved into the new place. It'll be sort of like an initiation in the new kitchen!

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  8. It looks delicious. What a great melding of flavors...

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  9. Shuku,
    Well, good luck anyway!

    Actor's Diet,
    Me too!

    Indie.Tea,
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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