Vietnamese Watercress and Beef Salad
We love, love, LOVE this dish! Mainly due to its simplicity and how quick it is to put together. We’ve been living in the Caribbean for the past 1 1/2 years and to our dismay, watercress does not exist here… so every time we’re back home in California, we go crazy with the watercress. One thing I should mention is that this is “older” watercress, not the baby or micro watercress that you normally get at Whole Foods, but thicker-stalked watercress. This is important because they’ll hold up to the beef much better. We usually get them at the Asian grocery stores because they are so cheap and fresh.
This dish is typically served with Jasmine rice and a Vietnamese dipping sauce (nuoc cham), but can easily be eaten by itself as a hearty salad.
Ingredients: 1/2 red onion Juice of 2 medium-sized lemons (about 1/2 cup) Zest of the 2 lemons 1 Tablespoon Sugar or Agave Syrup Pinch of salt Vegetable Oil 3 Cloves of garlic (minced) * About 1 lb. of thinly sliced (2mm thickness) beef eye of round 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce Black pepper to taste 2 medium-sized tomatoes chopped into chunks or wedges 3-4 bunches of washed and spun-dried watercress
2 cup Jasmine rice (cooked)Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Fish Sauce 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Warm Water 1 clove of Garlic (minced)
Chilies (can use chili paste instead)
* Most places will slice the eye of round for you if you ask. If not, I would recommend slightly freezing the meat and slicing it while it is still somewhat frozen.
- For the Dipping Sauce: Mix together the lemon juice, sugar, fish sauce and warm water. Then add about 1 clove of minced garlic and as much minced chilies as you like. Set aside.
- Slice your onion thinly and put in a small bowl. To the bowl add your lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar or agave syrup, and a little pinch of salt. Mix it up and adjust sweet, sour and salt levels to your taste, but make sure it’s still tart as the meat mixture is slightly salty. Set aside.
- Lightly glaze pan with oil on high heat and once warm, toss in the minced garlic. heat the garlic for a few seconds and then add the beef.
- Add the soy sauce and black pepper and sauté. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until meat is cooked through making sure that you don’t reduce the liquid all the way down. In the last few minutes before taking the meat off the heat, add the tomatoes. Mix around for a few minutes, turn the heat off and set the pan aside.
- In a large salad bowl, dress the watercress with the lemon and onion mixture from above. While still warm, put all of the contents of the sauté pan over the salad. Toss and serve with a side bowl of jasmine rice. This recipe can serve 2-4 people. Enjoy!