We discovered that Vietnam’s cuisine is marked by contrast after we had eaten our way around Vietnam. Crunchy and tender. Fresh and spicy. Both hot and cold. Multiple times in one dish.
Bowls of rice noodles are a great example. The noodles come with fresh raw ingredients and a mixture of savory seared beef. Our take on “Milk Street Tuesday Nights” was inspired by the rich and meaty sirloin tips.
To speed cooking, we pound the beef 1/2 inch thick. Then, we marinated the beef with gingery fish sauce and a little brown sugar. A topping of mint and cilantro gave the beef a crunchy, fresh contrast.
Sometimes sirloin tips are sold as flap meat, faux hanger or faux steak. Tips can be cut into two or three pieces. You can substitute sirloin tips with flank steak. If the flank is at least 1/2-inch thick, you don’t need to pound it.
Check the instructions on how to soak the noodles. They can vary. To make it easier to eat, cut the noodles into long strands after draining. You can thin the fish sauce with a few tablespoons of water if the flavor is too strong.
Combine 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 cup ginger, 2 cups brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside. Set aside. Place sirloin tips on 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to gently pound them until they are a uniform 1/2-inch thick. Mix the fish sauce with the beef and coat it. Allow to marinate at room temperature for fifteen minutes.
Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Then add the noodles to the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Allow the noodles to stand for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the noodles in a colander. Rinse under cold water to drain and then drain again. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Mix the 1/4 cup fish sauce, 1 tablespoon ginger, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, water, chili-garlic sauce and lime juice in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set aside.