Vietnamese beef salad is a dish that typically includes thin slices of flank steak and other ingredients that may include garlic, chili paste, mixed greens, carrots and onions. As with many Vietnamese dishes, Vietnamese beef salad is prepared with fresh ingredients and the beef is lightly stir fried to seal in the taste and texture. Many dishes from this part of the world include five spices that relate to the five human senses. This is also accomplished by giving attention to elements such as visual arrangement, taste, texture, crunchiness for hearing and herbs for smell.
Fresh herbs and spices are very often used in Vietnamese cuisine and this can add a little time to preparation. Vietnamese beef salad is relatively quick and easy to cook once the beef has been marinated and the ingredients mixed together. Preparation times can range from 45 minutes to a few hours depending on how long the flank steak is marinated. The hands on preparation of the salad and other ingredients as well as frying the beef usually take up to 20 to 25 minutes.
When preparing Vietnamese beef salad, ingredients such as soy sauce, sugar, lime juice and chili paste are mixed together and placed in a sealed plastic bag along with the raw flank steak. The mixture is refrigerated from 45 minutes up to two hours to marinate. The steak is then quickly stir fried for about five to ten minutes and then thinly sliced. The salad items are mixed together and other ingredients such as ginger and cilantro can be included at this point. The steak is then added and the salad is tossed and garnished with a few more slices of beef and peanuts.
There are many other ingredients that can be added to the salad, including mint, bean sprouts, radishes and lemon grass. These ingredients make Vietnamese beef salad a light and healthy dish. They are all high in vitamins and minerals and the use of vinegar-based salad dressings as opposed to oil-based dressings make the dish good for the heart and lowering cholesterol. Dark leafy greens are renowned sources of dietary fiber and calcium and may aid bone growth and maintenance. Herbs and ginger are known to be high in antioxidants and as such are thought to help clean up the free radicals that can cause damage to the body.