Mom’s cooking #2: Sizzling the Vietnamese steak (bò bíp-tết)

    Guest post by Mom, translated by me

    My little family has three people, and two of them like beef. Ever since we settled in Texas, the land of cheap, good beef, my husband and daughter almost always order something cow related when we go out, even as they love these loving-eyed animals when they’re alive and grazing the fields too. Sometimes I join them in forking red meat, and of those few occasions the American steak does not quite sing to me, but rather they sink a little hard and a bit salty. I guess the blame lies with either the meat quality or the cooking method, and mostly the latter.

    So I buy some steak fillet and try out the way we used to make back in Saigon. I slice ’em thin, marinade and fry, and not trying to toot my own horn here, but my steak is better than them restos’ steaks. 😛 Even Mai’s dad agrees. Its first highlight is the tenderness: it’s so tender I can bite it off with my teeth, who needs the knife and elbow grease to butcher that poor fillet. Its second highlight is the mouthwatering fragrance of garlic, onion, and pepper infused in every strand of muscle. Its last highlight, and also my principle of cooking, is that it doesn’t take long to make.

    Vietnamese Steak (bò bíp-tết)

    – 1 lb beef filet
    – 1 tbs chopped garlic
    – 3 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed to flatten
    – 4 purple onions, or half a sweet onion, chopped
    – 2 tsp sugar
    – 1/2 tsp salt
    – 1/2 tsp pepper
    – 2 tbs olive oil

    Wash the filet, cut into slices of roughly 1 cm (1/3 inch) thick. Marinade the beef with chopped garlic, onion, sugar, salt, and pepper for an hour.
    In a skillet, heat up oil on high heat. Throw in the three smashed cloves when the oil is really hot, wait until the garlic turns golden and smell good to add the beef.
    Fry the beef slices for about 1 minute, flip over, and fry another 1 minute. Turn off heat and the meat is done.

    We eat ’em hot with homemade fries and broccoli. This combination of Texas beef and Vietnamese cooking suits those who don’t have much time (or don’t really like meticulous labor in the kitchen), like me, best.

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