Vietnamese-Australian chef and TV host Luke Nguyen's new cookbook, The Food Of Vietnam, is an impressive, thick tome of first-hand tales and history, and of course, beautifully photographed dishes. All your favorite Vietnamese food lies within, plus a few extras you never saw coming (unless of course you're from Vietnam). Try this light, tangy beef salad on for size.
Kohlrabi is a root vegetable that is much loved in Vietnam as it can be eaten both raw or cooked. It is crisp and tastes a bit like a water chestnut crossed with cabbage. When buying tamarind, be sure to buy it in block form. Don’t go for the ready-made pastes, as their flavor is inferior to the blocked pulp.
- 3 1/2 ounces kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
- 3 1/2 ounces carrots, peeled and julienned
- 3 1/2 ounces beetroot, peeled and julienned
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10 1/2 ounces lean beef eye fillet, trimmed and sliced into 1/8-inch slices
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Tamarind water, (2 ounces of tamarind pulp dissolved in 1 cup of water)
- 1 handful cilantro leaves, sliced
- 1 handful Vietnamese mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons fried garlic chips
- 2 tablespoons Nuoc mam cham dipping sauce
- 1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts
- 1 red bird's eye chilli, sliced
- In a bowl, combine the kohlrabi, carrot, beetroot and sugar. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes, then drain.
- Place a frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and fry the garlic until fragrant.
- Add the beef, season with the pepper, then stir-fry the beef for no more than 3 minutes — only until just cooked through. Transfer the beef to a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the tamarind water and toss to combine.
- In another bowl, combine the kohlrabi, carrot, beetroot, saw-tooth coriander, Vietnamese mint, garlic chips and tamarind beef. Add the remaining tablespoon of tamarind water and the nuoc mam cham.
- Toss the salad to combine all the ingredients. Garnish with the peanuts and chilli and serve.
Try out these Vietnamese recipes on Food Republic: