Lemongrass beef is definitely on the short list of almost-irresistible Vietnamese dishes. You can grill the beef on skewers, restaurant style, or quickly sauté it in a hot pan and get it on the table fast. You will need 2 to 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass. Trimmed, chopped, and finely ground lemongrass is now available frozen In small and large containers imported from Vietnam. Convenient and of high quality, it’s perfect for busy days, or anytime fresh lemongrass is difficult to find.
- 1 pound boneless beef, such as tri-tip or sirloin tip
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots or onion
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 15 to 20 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
Slice the beef thinly into strips about 2 inches long and put in a medium bowl. Combine the lemongrass, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a mini-food processor or a blender and blend until fairly smooth. (Add a little water if needed to move the blades.) Transfer the marinade to the bowl, toss the beef to coat evenly, and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
To cook the beef, thread it onto bamboo skewers, pushing pieces together to fill most of the skewer, and leaving about 2 inches at each end. Build a hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill or the broiler. To grill, place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, using tongs or a long-handled spatula and grill fork to move the skewers off the grill as soon as they are done. To broil, place the skewers in a roasting pan and slide under the broiler until cooked, 1 to 2 minutes per side. You could also sauté the marinated beef quickly in a hot pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, turning once. Transfer the beef to a serving platter and serve hot or warm.