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Nue Nam Tok: Grilled Beef with Thai Seasoning Recipe

(Serves 6)

3            Serrano chilies
1/4 cup   white vinegar
1.5 lb      flank steak
1/4 lb     (1 cup) red onion, sliced
4            green onions
1/4 cup + 1 tblsp lime juice
2 tblsp     fish sauce
1 tsp       ground roasted chilies *
2 tblsp     ground toasted rice **
              Red lettuce leaves
              Coriander sprigs
              Mint or Basil leaves

1.  Remove the stems, but not the seeds, from the chilies.  Slice the
chiles crosswise into pieces 1/8" thick.  Place the sliced chiles and
vinegar in a small serving bowl.  Let it stand for at least 15 minutes.

2.  Grill the beef to the desired doneness, preferably over charcoal.
Slice it across the grain into strips 1/8" thick and 1 to 2 inches long.
Put these in a large ceramic bowl.

3.  Peel the red onion, remove the root portion, and slice the onion
vertically into thin strips.  Slice the green onion diagonally into thin
pieces.  Add both types of onion to the beef.

4.  Add the lime juice, fish sauce, ground chilies, and ground rice.
Mix well

5.  Arrange a single layer of lettuce leaves on a serving platter, and
place th beef mixture on top.  Garnish with sprigs of coriander and mint
or basil leaves.

6.  Serve at room temperature, the vinegar sauce (from Step 1) and rice.

*  Use small hot chilies about 3 to 4 inches long.  Roast whole chillie
stems and all, in a dry wok or skillet until the color changes to dark
red or brown depending on the chilies used.  Be careful not to let them
burn.  When the chilies have cooled, remove the stems and seeds.  Place
the chilies in a food processor or blender and grind using short pulses.
Pre-ground chilies are also commercially available, but often lack the
"bite" of home ground ones and may be more expensive.

** Place uncooked rice in a dry wok or skillet and heat over moderate
heat until deep golden brown, stirring frequently to keep from burning
and to allow it to develop a uniform color.  Watch the rice carefully
after it begins to change color and stir constantly because it can burn
easily at this stage.  When it is a uniform deep golden color, remove
from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Grind it to a fine
powder in a blender or a spice grinder.  This can be made in advance and
kept in quantity so that there is always a supply on hand, but it is
also easy to make up while preparing the dish.

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