Vietnamese Beef Vinegar Fondue-Bo Nhung Giam

Vietnamese food

This is one of the dish for family gathering at weekends or holidays.  Everyone dips the paper thin sliced beef  into hot vinegar broth at the table and make their own rolls.

Make 6 servings

3 lb beef (eye of round, sirloin or tenderloin) sliced paper thin
Table green:
   1 head of your favorite lettuce: butter, roman, 
   A variety of mixed Vietnamese herbs:  mint, basil, fish leave, cilantro, etc.
   1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise
   1 cup bean sprout
   1 medium carrot, julienned
   1 medium daikon, julienned
   1 green banana, peeled outer layer of skin and thinly sliced crosswise and soak into lime or vinegar solution to prevent getting brown
   1 star fruit, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 fresh pineapple, thinly slice lengthwise  a half and finely chopped a half
8 oz dried fine vermicelli 
One 12 oz package sheet rice paper
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, thinly sliced semicircle
2 green onion, cut into 2-in length
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped and divided into 2
1 small red Thai chili, seeded, thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, cut into 2-in length, bruised
1 small chunk of ginger, smashed
1 fresh coconut 
Sugar, salt, vinegar
1-2 Limes
3 Tbs of ground fermented anchovy and extra for tasting (this is one of the most pungent sauce so do not attempt trying it by yourself if you are not familiar with it)
  1. Put julienned carrot and daikon in a medium bowl with  1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.  Set aside and stir occasionally. You can do it on the previous day.  Squeeze most liquid out before serving.
  2. Slice beef and arrange in layers with onion slices and green onion in a large plate or a couples small plates.  Cover and refrigerate until serve.  You can buy thinly sliced beef at Asian store like Sunrise here in Eugene under the name shabu -shabu or sukiyaki beef.
  3. Soak fine vermicelli in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, make sure enough water to cover vermicelli.  If the vermicelli is soft but still yield some bite, drain and rinse with cold water, drain well.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  4. Dipping Sauce “Mam Nem”-  In a medium bowl, add 2 crushed garlic clove, chili slices, 4 Tbs sugar, 2 Tbs vinegar, 1/2 cup water, a and finely chopped pineapple (When adding pineapple,squeeze firm but gentle to release juice).  Add 3 Tbs fermented anchovy, stir well, taste and adjust seasoning to you liking but remember the pineapple will soak in the sauce and give more flavor and sweetness to the final taste.
  5. Wash and rinse all the greens, cucumber, banana, star fruit, bean sprout. Slice star fruit, set aside. 
  6. In a small bowl, add 1 cup of water and one Tbs vinegar or lime juice.  Peel the outer layer of banana skin with a vegetable peeler.  Slice the banana crosswise and add to the bowl right away to prevent turning brown. Drain banana slices just before serving
  7. In a medium pot, add the remaining crushed garlic, lemongrass, ginger, 1 cup vinegar, 5 cups water (or coconut water from one coconut and water) 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbs sugar. Bring it to a boil, taste and , cover and simmer gently until needed.

To serve:

Arrange vegetable, vermicelli, beef, moist rice paper on plates around table, try to keep everything in every one’s reach.
 Put a hotpot or fondue at the center of table.  Strain or just pour the sour broth to the pot, simmer and bring it back to  a gentle boil when start eating.  May add more vinegar solution if the sour broth evaporates too quick.   
Everyone should have a dinner plate, a dip bowl, and a pair of chopstick or a skimmer to dip the beef and onion into the boiling sour broth, make their own roll, use the fingers and dip into the sauce.  Keep rolling one after another until being full.
May use sweet and sour fish sauce for dipping.

Note:
 Thai Red chili is sold in a big package at Asian store but they freeze well.  The green chili is good too.
You do not need to have a lot of herbs: a bunch of cilantro or mint can give the roll some flavor.
Star fruit is not always available around here.  if you can not see it, omit it.
The green banana we use in Vietnamese market has a lot of young seeds but green banana here is good to use too.
Sometimes pineapple chunks are added into the vinegar broth
Crushed pineapple can be used to make fermented anchovy sauce
Check out the post relates to making rolls

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