Aromatic stir-fried smoked beef

Aromatic stir-fried smoked beef

Luke Nguyen's Greater Mekong
Stuart Scott

I hitched a ride on top of an old jeep to a small village occupied by the Anh ethnic minority, where I met Aye, the village shaman. The „first thing he said is that I have horrible teeth. He told me they were too white and that I should rub them with black bark every day so they turn black. “Only animals and beasts have white teeth,” he said. I didn’t heed his dental advice, but I did take his advice on a traditional Anh dish his mother used to cook. When the men headed into the jungle on long hunting trips, they also took non-perishable foods in the form of dried smoked beef, aromatics, roots and powders, which they would cook up with the wild herbs and vegetables they foraged along the way. And so this dish was born. If you can’t „find smoked beef, thick beef jerky or „finely sliced beef sirloin are good substitutes.


Quantity Ingredient
200g dried smoked beef or chinese beef jerky
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 red asian shallots, sliced
3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
5 cm piece fresh galangal, peeled and sliced
1 lemongrass stem, „finely sliced, white part only
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 red chillies, sliced
8 kaffir lime leaves, julienned
1 spring onion, sliced
4 saw-tooth coriander leaves, sliced
400g glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight
or steamed jasmine rice, to serve


  1. To make the sticky rice, drain and rinse the soaked rice in cold water three times. Pour water into the bottom of your steamer and line the steaming section with muslin. Place the rinsed rice on the cloth, cover with the lid and set on the stovetop over high heat. Steam for 15 …minutes, then †flip the rice over. Cook for another 5–15… minutes, or until the rice becomes translucent; take a small bite to check it is soft and chewy. (Sticky rice generally takes about 20–30 minutes of steaming all up.)
  2. Put the dried beef in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 30minutes, or until softened. Drain well, reserving 250 ml of the cooking liquid. Allow the beef to cool, then slice „finely and set aside.
  3. Heat a frying pan or wok over medium–high heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the garlic and shallot until fragrant. Now add the ginger, galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, paprika, chilli and a pinch of sea salt. Stir in the beef and the reserved cooking liquid, reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the kaffir lime leaves and spring onion. Garnish with the coriander and serve with sticky rice or jasmine rice.
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