A few nights ago my husband and I were Skyping with my daughter Erika’s Vietnamese friend, Thanh. I’ve mentioned her before in some of my posts; she is the one who does the AMAZING street food tours in Hanoi. Well, we discussed various things, among them FOOD, of course! She told us “You guys need to make a popular authentic Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad: Pho Tron.” This dish is typical of Hanoi” Thanh told us.
We wanted to find out about some popular summer Vietnamese dishes. Yes, we’re totally enjoying long summer days here in the northern US. We’ve waited a long time for this. Anyhow, I don’t want do digress. During our conversation she mentioned 3 or 4 recipes that I will making in the coming weeks. The one I am making today is Pho Tron, it is like a noodle salad of sorts with a broth that is used as a “dressing.” Think of it as the Vietnamese version of an American steak salad plus the noodles, but a lot healthier. It is a great dish for hot weather when you cannot sit down to a bowl of hot steaming broth so it offers a nice summer dish with traditional Vietnamese flavors.
Don’t let all the steps in this delicious dish discourage you. Really, it’s just a matter of getting organized. No complicated techniques here.
For the bean sprouts, I suggest you blanch them. And whatever you do, don’t skip crisping the shallots; it really adds a lot to the overall texture and flavor of this dish. When we were in Southeast Asia last year, we found that crispy shallots are a common garnish.
By the way if you are looking for another popular Vietnamese dish, check out my recipe for bun cha. It’s delicious.
This recipe is similar to the popular Vietnamese soup Pho; you could even say that Pho Tron is Pho’s fair-weather cousin. So basically what you are doing is creating a salad with various greens, beef and a broth like dressing that is a balance of flavors: sweet, salty, and sour. I think I’ve mentioned before that Southeast Asian food strives to create a balance of flavors. No flavor ever dominates.
This is a really easy recipe to make any weeknight, or for a Sunday meal with family and friends.
I would love it if you leave me a comment AND share the recipe with your friends.
Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad: Pho Tron
A perfect meal for any weeknight, or Sunday dinner. The bright flavors of authentic Vietnamese food shine through in this easy to make dish. This has some of the best Vietnamese contrasts of flavors: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and some hot chillies for some heat too!
- 8 oz rice noodles
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 12 leaves Thai basil chopped
- 10 mint leaves chopped
- 2 oz bean sprouts blanched
- 2 Tbsp peanuts chopped
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- 4 shallots thinly sliced
- 2 Thai red chilies thinly sliced-optional
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Run under cold water.
To cook the meat
Season the beef with salt, ginger, pepper, five spice powder, and garlic powder. Rub on both sides of the meat, and then squeeze the lime juice on both sides of the meat. Place in the refrigerator for about two hours.
slice the beef into very thin pieces. Heat oil on medium. Add the beef and cook about 1 minutes on each side. Transfer it to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for about 5 minutes.
While the meat is resting assemble your greens. Mix lettuce, cilantro, Thai basil, and mint, in a bowl.
- Blanch the bean sprouts, and when completely cool, add to the greens mixture.
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar and the fish sauce. Add in the sugar, and stir well. The flavor should be more along the lines of sweet and sour.
Portion equal amounts of each item on a plate/bowl. Top with peanuts, crispy shallots and slices of Thai chilies if desired.