Also, adding tomatoes was something my mom did but I don't know it it's typical. I think it adds a nice flavor and cuts the richness of the fried potatoes and beef a bit.
A note on the potatoes - you can double fry them, as a lot of people recommend for crispier fries. I don't bother but it's up to you.
Serve with rice as part of a meal, and it's nice to have some sliced cucumbers and another veggie or soup dish to round out the meal.
Beef and potatoes, Vietnamese style
- 5-6 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled
- Peanut oil for frying
- 1 lb. flank, sirloin or top round steak
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced lengthwise into large slices
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 large tomato, cut into sixths or eighths, or 2 smaller roma tomatoes, quartered - approximately 2" pieces
- 3 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. Maggi seasoning sauce (if you don't have Maggi, increase soy sauce to 2 tsp. total)
- 1-1/2 tsp. corn starch
- 1-1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Put the beef in the freezer to firm up for slicing.
- Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Placing each half cut side down on your cutting board, slice each half crosswise into about 1/4" slices (half moons).
- Rinse potatoes well and then place in a large bowl filled with cold water. Store in fridge for about an hour or longer.
- Remove beef from freezer after about 1/2 hour. Slice against the grain into thin strips, about 1/4" thick.
- In a bowl, combine the last six ingredients. Add beef and mix together well. Set aside to marinade.
- When you are ready to fry, set up a sheet pan or a metal colander lined with a few layers of paper towels. Drain potatoes and dry off really well with paper towels.
- If you'd like to double-fry the potatoes, heat about 1-1/2" oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven and heat to about 325 degrees F over medium heat. Carefully add the potatoes, being careful not to overcrowd. Turn the heat up a little as the oil temperature will drop when you add the potatoes. Fry 7-9 min. until they start to turn golden. Remove with a spider and drain on your prepared sheet pan or colander. Turn the heat up a little and get the oil to about 350 degrees F. Gently pour the potatoes back into the oil and fry about 5 min. until they are golden brown. Put down fresh paper towels and remove potatoes and set on towels to drain. Sprinkle a little salt over them.
- If you'd like to just fry once, heat the oil a little hotter to about 350, 375 degrees F and fry long enough to brown the potatoes evenly, about 8-10 minutes. Remove with a spider and drain off on your prepared sheet pan or colander. Sprinkle a little salt over them.
- In a large skillet, heat about 1-1/2 Tbsp. oil over medium high heat. When hot, add half the onions and fry for a little bit, 15-30 seconds, and then add half the garlic and fry a little more. Push onions and garlic to one side of the pan.
- Turn the heat up and add beef - this will take two batches. Try to cook beef in a single layer and don't overcrowd. Let the beef cook for about 1 minute and then flip the slices over and let cook another minute. Mix in onions and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Remove and put aside. Repeat steps 9 and 10 with the second batch.
- Add tomatoes and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add beef, garlic, and onions back in, and then you can either add the potatoes and mix everything all together, or put the potatoes on a serving platter and pour the beef and tomato mixture over them. Garnish with cilantro and grind some pepper over it.
Serve with steamed jasmine rice, a plate of sliced cucumbers and maybe another simple vegetable dish like steamed bok choy or broccoli, to round out the meal.