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Char-grilled Lemongrass Beef - Bo Nuong Xa

There are many variations of this dish found throughout Vietnam but I find this one the easiest to prepare. Make sure you buy the Vietnamese-style baguettes, which are much smaller than the French type.
Makes 12 skewers


  • 10 spring onions (scallions), white part only, sliced

  • 2 lemongrass stems, white part only, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) minced beef

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 4 small baguettes or small Vietnamese bread rolls, warmed

  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) hoisin dipping sauce


  • 1.

    Put the spring onions, lemongrass, garlic and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a mortar, and pound to a fine paste. Alternatively,

  • 2.

    Use a food processor to make the paste.

  • 3.

    Transfer the paste to a large bowl and add the beef, shrimp paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and sesame seeds. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for the flavours to develop.

  • 4.

    Meanwhile, soak 12 bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent them burning.

  • 5.

    With wet hands, divide the beef mixture into 24 portions and roll each portion into a sausage shape, about 4 cm (11/2 inches) long. Thread 2 beef

  • 6.

    Sausages onto each bamboo skewer and brush with a little oil.

  • 7.

    Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill pan to medium and cook the beef skewers for 6 minutes, turning every few minutes, until cooked. Serve with warm baguettes and hoisin dipping sauce.

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