Just say ‘raw beef with lemon juice’ and it makes my mouth water. Actually, you can do little wrong with that fusion and only something divine can emerge out of it. The Vietnamese have created something extraterrestrial, Bo tai chanh. Literally translated as ‘raw beef with lemon’. An excellent starting point, but a bit bare. There must be something added without this golden fusion is violated, and then the characteristics of the Vietnamese cuisine come around. In this case the abundance of fresh herbs and the main seasoning fish sauce dressing Nuoc cham. That’s all you need. Of course there are again plenty of ways to prepare this dish. Bean sprouts are often added, but because I am not fond of the taste of raw bean sprouts I leave that and keep it as simple as possible.
This dish you can eat with a rice table, but I prefer to eat it as snack or entree.
- 250 g tender beef, like round steak and roast beef
- 100 ml lemon juice (= about 4 lemons)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- basic fish dipping sauce Nuoc cham
- fresh herbs to taste: coriander, mint, Thai basil, etc.
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- red chili, thinly sliced (seeded for less pit)
- roasted peanuts Dau phong rang, chopped
- fried onions, ready-to-eat or selfmade
- large prawn crackers (optional)
- Dissolve the sugar and fish sauce in the lemon juice.
- Cut the beef into very thin strips and add to the lemon mixture. Stir well and leave for about 20 minutes.
- Tear or chop the herbs coarsely and place in a bowl with red onion and chili.
- Let the meat drain in a colander. If you do not like very acidic, you can squeeze cautiously a little more lemon juice from the meat.
- Add the meat to the bowl with fresh herbs. Pour about 2 teaspoons basic fish dipping sauce over the carpaccio. Sprinkle the fried onions and roasted peanuts on the carpaccio and stir well. Serve with prawn crackers.