Grilled Dried Beef

Grilled Dried Beef
(Thit Bo Kho)

* 1 pound Lean bottom round or -- sirloin, in one piec 6 inches in Diameter
* 2 Stalks fresh lemon grass -- or 2 tablespoons dri grass
* 2 small Red chile peppers -- seeded
* 2 1/2 tablespoons Sugar or honey
* 1 tablespoon Nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish -- sauce)
* 3 tablespoons Light soy sauce

Here’s a Vietnamese version of beef “jerky” made with red chilies and honey or sugar that sounds like it’s off in the direction of your Chinese Dried Fried Beef recipe.

This Vietnamese-style “beef Jerky” is delicious served with drinks. The Vietnamese enjoy eating it as a snack with glutinous rice. It is also an ingredient in Green Papaya Salad.

Cut the beef across the grain onto very thin 3 by 3 inch slices. If you are using fresh lemon grass, discard the outer leaves and upper half of the stalk. Cut into thin slices and finely chop. If you are using dried lemon grass, soak in warm water for 1 hour. Drain and finely chop.

Combine the chiles and sugar in a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine paste. Add the chopped lemon grass, fish sauce and soy sauce and stir to blend. (If using a blender, combine all of these and blend to a very fine paste.) Spread the paste over the beef pieces to coat both sides. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Spread out each slice of marinated beef on a large, flat wire rack or baking sheet. Let stand in the sun until both sides are completely dried, about 12 hours. (You can also place a rack on a jelly roll pan and let the beef dry in the refrigerator for 2 days.)

Grill the beef over a medium charcoal fire or transfer the rack from the refrigerator to the middle of a preheated 400F oven and bake until brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

Serve with glutinous rice.

NOTE: After cooking, the meat may be kept for up to 1 week in a covered jar at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Foods of Vietnam” by Nicole Rauthier.