Vietnamese Steak Salad (Shaking Beef)

These are very hot little firecrackers from the orient. They can be used to add spice to almost any oriental dish. They dry very easily and can be stored and used this way for a long time.

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3/4 pound filet mignon, strip or porterhouse steak
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. olive oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1Tbsp. vinegar
freshly-ground black pepper
1 Thai chile, stemmed and sliced very thin
2 cups watercress, cleaned, with heavy stems removed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
fresh mint


Rub the steak with the 4 cloves of the garlic, then sprinkle on the fish sauce, sugar, salt and olive oil. Rub it again and let it marinate for at least one hour.

Fire up the grill.

Marinate the scallions and the remaining clove of garlic in the vinegar. Grill the steak for 5 minutes on each side, then remove it from the grill and let it cool for about 8 minutes. Slice it into thin cubes and toss it together with all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve it with rice.

Yields 4 appetizer servings.

Recipe by Chef Charles Phan, San Francisco Chronicle.