Loc Lac Recipe

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

This remarkable skewered beef recipe is popular in both Cambodia and Vietnam. The cubes of sirloin or filet mignon marinate in mushroom soy sauce, cracked black pepper, sugar, and lots of pungent garlic. Sautéed or grilled, the fragrant, tender beef morsels are wrapped in tender lettuce leaves and dipped in tangy lime juice that has been sweetened with sugar and spiced with more black pepper and garlic. In Phnom Penh, loc lac is enjoyed at Hotel Le Royal, where the specialty was served in a deep-fried taro basket for a beautiful presentation.

If grilling on a barbecue, be sure to soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes prior to skewering the beef cubes.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed, peeled, and minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds beef sirloin or filet mignon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Juice of 4 limes or lemons
  • 3 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, finely crushed (not peanut butter)
  • 1 head Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the mushroom and dark soy sauces, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in half the garlic and black pepper. Add the oil and the beef and toss to coat the meat thoroughly. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a nonstick grill pan over high heat and grill the beef cubes for 15 to 30 seconds on each side.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the lime juice with the remaining sugar in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the remaining garlic and black pepper and the crushed peanuts. To serve, place the beef cubes on a plate (or in one large or several small individual fried taro cups, if you wish) and the lettuce leaves on a separate plate, and divide the sauce among individual small bowls. Eat, wrapping some meat with a lettuce leaf and dipping the bundle in the sauce.

Beverage pairing: Domaine Philippe Tessier Cheverny Rouge, France. Cheverny is an obscure appellation in France’s Loire Valley. Its light reds are perfect for a punchy, Asian red meat dish like this. A heavier wine might conflict with all the garlic and citrus, but a light blend of Pinot and Gamay like this one has just the right weight and verve.

This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.
Simon & Schuster