The combination of herbs, the rice noodles, and the garlicky lime sauce mark this pasta salad as Vietnamese.
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- add 1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
- add 1/3 cup water
- add 2 teaspoons sugar
- add 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce such as <I>nuoc mam</I>* or soy sauce
- add 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- add 1 large seedless cucumber, quartered lengthwise, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
- add 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- add 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- add 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
- add 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
- add <B>For the sauce</B>
- add 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- add 1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts (use a rolling pin)
- add 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- add <B>For marinating the beef</B>
- add *available at Asian markets
- add 4 cups shredded lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
- add 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce such as <I>nuoc mam</I>*
- add 2 tablespoons sugar
- add 1 pound dried rice-stick noodles* (rice vermicelli)
- add 1/4 teaspoon salt
- add 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Marinate the beef:
- In a blender blend together the garlic, the fish sauce, the sesame oil, the sugar, and the salt, in a shallow dish pour the marinade over the steak, turning the steak to coat it well, and let the steak marinate, covered and chilled, for 4 hours or overnight.
- Make the sauce:
- In the blender blend together the water, the garlic, the fish sauce, the lime juice, the sugar, and the red pepper flakes.
- In a large bowl soak the noodles in warm water to cover for 5 minutes and drain them. In a kettle of salted boiling water cook the noodles for 5 minutes and drain them in a colander. Rinse the noodles well under cold water and drain them well.
- Grill the steak, discarding the marinade, on an oiled rack set 4 to 5 inches over glowing coals or broil it under a preheated broiler about 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until it is springy to the touch, for medium-rare meat. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, let it stand for 10 minutes, and holding a knife at a 45-degree angle slice it thin.
- Divide the cucumber, the lettuce, and the herbs among 8 large plates, mixing them, and mound the noodles over the mixture on each plate. Arrange the steak decoratively over the noodles and sprinkle it with the peanuts. Spoon some of the sauce over each plate and serve the remaining sauce separately.