Cured Beef Salad
Versions of this raw beef salad can be found throughout Southeast Asia, but the addition of prahok (fermented fish) makes this one distinctly Cambodian.
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 tbsp. sugar
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. top round (have butcher slice meat
paper-thin against the grain)
1 1/2 tbsp. Tuk Prahok
1/4 cup tuk trey or other Southeast Asian fish sauce
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup mung bean sprouts, trimmed
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, julienned
1/4 cup fresh holy or sweet basil leaves, julienned
1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
1. Combine 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 tbsp. sugar, lemongrass, and half the garlic in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Add beef to lime mixture, toss to coat evenly, then set aside to marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the prahok dressing. Combine tuk prahok, tuk trey, 1/4 cup water, and remaining 4 tbsp. sugar in a small bowl. Mix until sugar completely dissolves, then add lime juice to taste (about 1/2 cup), shallots, and remaining garlic. Set half the prahok dressing aside. Add remaining dressing to beef and mix well. Set beef aside at room temperature to cure for 10 minutes more.
3. Drain all liquid from beef, pressing gently with your hands. Wipe out bowl. Return beef to bowl and add bean sprouts, mint, basil, and half the chopped peanuts. Mix well, add reserved prahok dressing, mix again, then transfer to a medium platter. Garnish salad with remaining peanuts and, if desired, additional fresh mint and basil leaves. Serve at room temperature.