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Bo Tai Chanh - Lemon-cured sirloin


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) sirloin, trimmed of fat and sliced as thinly as possible

  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon fine white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic oil, reserved from frying garlic

  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped and fried

  • 1 large handful saw-leaf coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

  • 1 large handful rice paddy herb, roughly chopped

  • 1 large handful bean sprouts

  • 1/2 small red onion, finely sliced

  • 2 tablespoons dau phong rang (see below)

  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced

  • nuoc mam cham, to serve (see below)

  • Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce

  • Makes 250 ml / 1 cup

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) fish sauce

  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) rice vinegar

  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) water

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 bird’s eye chilli

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • Phong Rang - Roasted peanuts

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) vegetable oil

  • 250 g (9 oz) raw shelled peanuts


  • 1.

    Combine the lemon juice and fish sauce then stir through the salt, sugar and pepper, and mix well.

  • 2.

    Arrange the sirloin on a single layer on a plate and marinate in the lemon mixture for 10 minutes, ensuring all the meat is covered.

  • 3.

    Remove the sirloin from the lemon mixture and gently drain the excess juice. Combine with the herbs, onion, garlic oil and bean sprouts.

  • 4.

    Turn out onto a serving plate and garnish with the peanuts and chilli. Dress with extra nuoc mam cham at the table.

  • Nuoc Mam Cham – Dipping Fish Sauce:

  • 1.

    Combine the fish sauce, rice vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat.

  • 2.

    Stir well and cook until just before boiling point is reached, then allow to cool.

  • 3.

    To serve, finely chop the garlic and chilli and stir through with the lime juice.

  • Dau Phong Rang - Roasted peanuts:

  • 1.

    Put the oil in a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds. Carefully drop the peanuts in the oil with a slotted spoon, and stir until they turn a vibrant golden colour. Remove to absorbent paper and allow to cool. Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle until coarsely ground.

  • 2.

    The roasted nuts will keep in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Sauce recipes also in Secrets of the Red Lantern

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