Grilled Lemongrass Beef with Rice Noodles

Today was the first day I was back at the Azle Farmers Market since last year.  My life has been so hectic with the garden tour, deployment training, Japanese Cooking Series, and trip to Houston that this was the first Saturday I could go. I wanted to showcase my first attempt to grow lemongrass and also use some nice hot Serrano peppers I’m growing so I decided on Lemongrass Beef with Rice Noodles. I have also made this with chicken and shrimp and the marinade is really flavorful and exciting. Tofu is a good vegetarian choice as well. This is a perfect summertime dish because it is eaten cold, although the meat can be warm from the grill if you like.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 small hot chiles (Thai, Serrano, jalapeño) stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 T sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 T soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T lime juice
1 T sesame seeds
1 1/2 pounds beef (tenderloin, sirloin, top round) sliced paper thin, across the grain

Place garlic, lemon grass, shallot, ginger, chiles, sugar, black pepper and salt in a heavy mortar and pound to a puree with a pestle. (or use a food processor) Add the fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir in sesame seeds. Add marinade to a large plastic bag and marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.

Rice Noodles
8 ounces rice noodles (vermicelli)
Prepare according to package directions–they tend to differ depending on the brand. I boil them for a few minutes, drain and place in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator. I like the texture of them after they’ve chilled for a few hours.

Lettuces leaves, left whole (Boston lettuce) or shredded red leaf or other lettuce
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2-4 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
2-3 cups bean sprouts
1 bunch Thai basil, rinsed, dried and torn into sprigs
1 bunch fresh mint, rinsed, dried and torn into sprigs
1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried, and torn into sprigs

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
1 carrot, peeled
2 T sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 hot chile, cut into thin pieces
Use a vegetable peeler to cut 4 paper thin strips of carrot and then cut into thin slices. Add the rest of the ingredients.

1/2 cup finely chopped salted, roasted peanuts.

Serve by placing noodles, beef, vegetables and sauce on lettuce leaves or chopped lettuce and top with peanuts and more cilantro and the sauce.

Please try this recipe. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.