BO BUN (beef noodles)
This recipe was kindly gifted to me for my first cookbook by the Taing family who has a Chinese/Cambodian heritage and cook many other dishes from surrounding countries, including this Vietnamese meal.
It has become a real family favourite of ours, and I have cooked it that many times now, I've lost count! I have adapted it slightly since the book was published (mostly just by adding extra curry sauce!) and have also linked below the type of curry paste and noodles I buy. I source these from my local Asian supermarket and I usually buy several packets of each at once, so I always have them on hand when we are having craving for this meal!
For the beef
700g (1 ½ lb) beef fillet steak*
2 tablespoons oil
2 ½ teaspoons cornflour
1/4 cup cold water
1 onion, halved & thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons curry laksa paste (I use the Dollee curry laksa paste, it's SO good!)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 can coconut cream
Nuoc mam dressing
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup fair trade sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup vinegar (I use apple cider)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 small carrot, julienned
400g (14 oz) 'medium thickness' rice vermicelli noodles, like these ones HERE .
1 cup raw blanched peanuts
½ ice burg lettuce, shredded (or salad leaves)
1 cucumber, sliced
1 small bunch mint
1 red chilli, sliced
2 cups mung bean sprouts
Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and put a large pot of water onto boil.
For the beef
Slice the beef into thin strips (discarding any large fatty parts) and place into a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the cornflour with the cold water and stir until smooth and lump free. Add this to the beef with 1 teaspoon salt, the oil, the sliced onion, crushed garlic and the curry laksa paste. NOTE: 3 tablespoons of curry laksa paste will give you a medium spice, add less or more to suit your tastes. Mix well, and place in the fridge to marinate while you make the rest of the components.
For the nuoc mam dressing
Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water then add the rest of the ingredients, stir and allow to cool. Pour into a jug for serving.
For the noodles
When the pot of water is at a rapid boil, add the noodles and cook them for 10-12 minutes or until al dente. These noodles take longer to cook than regular noodles, and they tend to clump a little when cooking, so during the cooking process, check on them and separate them with tongs. When cooked, strain in a colander and run under cold water for a minute allowing completely cool. Set aside for now.
For the peanuts
In the preheated oven, roast the peanuts on a tray until a dark golden brown, around 7-8 minutes, discarding any that are too dark. Once cooled, crush using a pestle and mortar or food processor. NOTE: I do my peanuts in large batches and have them already crushed in a jar. We eat many Asian style meals weekly, so this is a typical topping for us. It saves so much time doing a large amount in one go - and easy 'go-to' topping when needed.
To cook the beef
NOTE: Before you cook the beef, get all of your garnishes, toppings, the dressing and the noodles ready to serve and in bowls on the table. gIn a hot wok or deep frying pan, add the beef mixture, stirring regularly for about 1 minute. Quickly add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar, mix well for a few seconds, then add the coconut cream and stir well. Taste to check the seasoning then transfer to a serving bowl.
Put everything into bowls in the centre of the table and everyone just helps themselves.
*you can use a cheaper cut of beef like chuck instead of fillet; the result will just be chewy.