Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vietnamese Barbecue Tacos

This recipe comes from the April issue of Southern Living.  I must admit that generally when I get any magazine the first thing I do is flip to the recipes.  I saw lots of great recipes in this one, but none of them flipped my wig enough to add it to my weekly meals.  My husband picked it up later and marked this recipe.  I put it on the weekly menu, but I was hesitant about it.  I thought the picture looked weird, and that the ingredients seemed like an odd combination.  However, I reasoned, I do love Asian food, and I love tacos, so I may as well try them.

After cooking the meat and getting excited by the amazing smell of the marinade, I knew I was going to love the meat.  But I still wasn't sure about the toppings and dipping sauce.  Luckily I have kids, so I put on a brave face and put a taco together to demonstrate to them how to eat it.  I piled on the toppings and dipped it in the sauce.  It was like an amazing explosion of deliciousness.  I was in heaven.  I forgot the kids and hastily finished my taco, reveling in every single bite.  And then I went for more.

So I hope that you'll give this a try, even if it seems unfamiliar.  I promise that the sauce, while it looks like it should be really spicy, really isn't.  And the toppings, while they seem like an odd combination, are actually amazing together.  Try it.  You'll like it.  You might just love it.

As a note, the meat need to marinate for at least 8 hours, so plan ahead accordingly.

Vietnamese Barbecue Tacos
Recipe by Southern Living Magazine, April 2012

Marinade/Meat Ingredients:
2 1/2 pounds beef steak (strip steaks, flank steaks, tri-tip steaks, or any other nice piece of meat you can get your hands on.  I used sirloin.)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 medium-sized red onion, sliced

 Dipping Sauce Ingredients:1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, mined
1 Serrano or Thai chili pepper, seeded and sliced (if you want your dipping sauce spicy, you can leave the seeds)

Topping Ingredients:
Thinly sliced red cabbage
Matchstick-sized or coarsely grated carrots
Thinly sliced red onion (use the rest of the onion from above)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped fresh mint
Thinly sliced cucumbers
Small (8-inch) flour tortillas

For the meat:  In a bowl combine fish sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, sugar, oil, and pepper.  Stir well.  Pour into a ziplock bag and add onions.  Add meat.  Seal bag and refrigerate 8-24 hours.

For the dipping sauce: In a small bowl whisk together water, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, lime juice, and garlic.  Stir in chili pepper.  Can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

To assemble:  Grill meat over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side.  Turn heat to low and cook an additional 1-2 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness.  Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into thin strips across the grain. 

On a flour tortilla, place some meat and desired toppings.  Roll into taco and serve with dipping sauce.

Serves 6-8.

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