I have been having a lot of thoughts lately about Thailand, Vietnam, and all of the other countries that are located in the South-East Asia peninsula. However not for the reasons one would expect. It’s been raining awfully lots in Nice, France, during this de facto uninteresting month of November, and I don’t know if you guys saw it in the news, but my region has been repeatedly flooded these past three weeks, and we have suffered some losses and we have been disturbed by various types of annoyances related to these heavy rains and the soil’s incapacity to deal with them. Problems aside, it seemed at time that we had become people from monsoon countries, except that we are theoretically not in a tropical area of the world, like Thailand or Vietnam are. Mmmm, climate changes, we love you… not!
SO…!!! To keep within the theme of the month, I thought I’d cook something related to this area of the world. But my heart wasn’t there, and I sadly ate soup and other dishes to warm up. That was until December finally made an appearance and brought us back some hope, some warmth, and the return of sunny days. Yes guys, Nice is like that, unlike all other places in France during winter time, December can be great. And we expect Christmas day and New Year’s eve to be nice and sunny like always – before the real winter kicks in around the end of January.
Therefore, today I threw myself in cooking an exotic dish with the utmost joy that I had kept deep inside me, and decided to use the lemongrass stalks that had suffered cold rains on my balcony last month. I went out to buy some beef and coriander leaves, and came back home with the hard will to throw myself back in sweet times through nice memories of shared meals with my Vietnamese friend Joyce, of my aromatic-ally wonderful trips to Thailand in 2006 and 2013, and of fun dinners that I had in Thai restaurants in Guangzhou (the Banana Leaf, I think, mostly) with my dear Chinese best friend Gisele around 2004-2005. These places were always decorated with all sorts of real and artificial tropical trees and leaves, dishes were all smelling amazing, and it’s back then that I discovered the powerful aroma and flavor of both coriander and lemongrass, that I had never had before.
This Coriander and Lemongrass Beef dish really is easy to make. For all Asian recipes alike, I would recommend slicing and chopping all the ingredients before the cooking phase. It makes everything easier to manage, besides it is really Asian-style to do so. Cooking something from another place is nice, but doing it by including a bit of local culture too is part of the cooking trip somehow. Mmmm, both writing this blog post and looking again at the pictures make me want to eat some more right now!! Luckily, the following recipe is for 4 servings, which means we’ll have some more to eat tomorrow for lunch at work…! Good for me :)))
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
- 500-600 grams of beef, sliced
- 2 shallots
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp of poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp of flour
- frying oil
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of thai basil oil (if not, then olive oil will do)
- 4 tbsp of clear soy sauce
- 2 stems of lemongrass
- 1/2 handful of mint leaves
- 1 handful of coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp of lemon or lime juice
- Chop the shallots and garlic, combine with flour and fry them in a saucepan. Reserve. If the mixture seems a little wet to you like it did to me, roast the combined shallots and garlic in a very hot pan along with poppy seeds. Then reserve.
- Thinly slice the beef, and cook a couple of minutes in a hot pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Turn the heat off. Pour the soy sauce, combine with the meat juice and pieces, and let cool down in the pan.
- Serve the rice.
- Very thinly chop the lemongrass and the mint leaves.
- Roughly chop the coriander leaves.
- Assemble your dish in the plate next to the rice, or separate the rice in a bowl if you like the dish to be the star of your plate.
- First put the beef in, top with the fried/roasted shallots and garlic, add the lemongrass, then all the freshly chopped leaves.
- Finish with a dash of lemon or lime juice over each plate.
- Roughly combine (I did that right after taking pictures), and serve immediately.
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2019 All Rights Reserved.