Lemongrass beef noodle salad
* 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
* 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bruised, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic
* 1 teaspoon fish sauce
* 1 teaspoon caster sugar
* 400g rump steak, trimmed, cut into 2mm-thick slices
* 250g rice vermicelli (see note)
* 1 Lebanese cucumber, seeds removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal
* 140g (2 cups) shredded iceberg lettuce (see note)
* 1 small carrot, peeled, cut into julienne (matchsticks)
* 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves (see note)
* 1/2 cup mint leaves
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 cups bean sprouts
* 35g (1/4 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
* 40g (1/2 cup) Asian fried shallots (see note)
* 1 red bird’s eye chilli, roughly chopped
* 1 clove garlic
* 60ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
* 2 tablespoons lime juice
* 3 teaspoons caster sugar
1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound peppercorns, lemongrass and garlic to a rough paste. Transfer paste to a large bowl, add fish sauce and sugar, then stir until well combined. Add steak and turn to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
2. Meanwhile, to make lime-chilli dressing, using a mortar and pestle, pound chilli and garlic to a paste. Transfer paste to a bowl and whisk in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and 60ml (1/4 cup) water. Set aside. Makes 3/4 cup.
3. Place noodles in a large bowl, then cover with boiling water and stand for 4 minutes or until softened. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Using scissors, cut noodles into 8cm lengths and divide among large bowls.
4. Place cucumber, lettuce, carrot, Thai basil and mint on top of noodles in separate small piles.
5. Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Cook marinated steak, in 2 batches, tossing, for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Divide steak among bowls and drizzle with dressing. Top with bean sprouts, peanuts and Asian fried shallots to serve.