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Mama Mai

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon and lunch with Tram, Zak and Zoey. Tram’s beautiful mom is in town and she made Tram and me lunch. How loving and generous is that?!?

tram and twins

Isn’t this photo so sweet and doesn’t Tram look absolutely gorgeous? Mama Mai took the picture of her three loves. What beauties they are!

Mama Mai made one of her classic Vietnamese dishes for us, bún thit bo (beef noodles) and the recipe she shared with me (and now I’m sharing with you) includes recipes for three fabulous components that are a treat to have on hand at all times. You’re really getting four recipes for the price of one with this post!

  1. Tram’s mom’s special salt & pepper spice mixture, a Mai family favorite.
  2. A fish sauce vinegar that is an excellent dipping sauce for any and everything, from pot-stickers to egg-rolls, lettuce wraps to spring-rolls … you name it! The sauce recipe can be increased to any amount you would like and kept in the fridge, so you’ll always have it on hand.
  3. And pickled daikon radishes that are addictive. I could sit down and eat a bowl full as an afternoon snack.

Zack and Zoey

One more treat… photos of the cuties that I took yesterday.

Bun Thit Bo

Mama Mai’s Bún Thit Bo

Mama Mai’s S&P
50% kosher salt
20% granulated garlic
20% granulated onion
10% freshly ground black pepper

Fish Sauce Vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

Pickled Daikon Radish & Carrot
1 daikon radish, peeled, cut into matchsticks
2 teaspoons salt
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Stir-Fry Beef
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Mama Mai’s S&P
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound London broil, cut across the grain into thin strips less; than 1/8-inch thick

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for stir-fry
1/2 onion, peeled and then thinly sliced

Vegetable Noodle Bowl
Crisp romaine lettuce leaves, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide ribbons (about 4 packed cups)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup roughly chopped mint leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves

2 cups cooked and chilled rice vermicelli noodles
Chopped roasted peanuts

mai s p

Mama Mai’s S&P: Make as much or little as you would like, using the proportions listed above. You need very little for this recipe, but this is Tram and her mom’s go-to all-purpose seasoning mix. It’s great, so make a big batch if you want to have it on hand. That is exactly what I have done, it’s so good!  Store in an airtight container.

fish sauce vinegar

Fish Sauce Vinegar: In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and fish sauce and stir until the sugar is dissolved, just a minute or so.

chili garlic sauce

Transfer to a bowl and let come to room temperature, then stir in the vinegar and chili garlic sauce.

radish carrot
Pickled Daikon Radish: Place the radish matchsticks on a plate and sprinkle the salt over, let sit for 15 minutes. Place in a strainer and rinse well with cold water. (Mama Mai says that this step will eliminate the bitter and spicy taste of the raw daikon) Place well rinsed radish matchsticks on a double layer of paper towels and squeeze to get all of the water out of the daikon. Place in a small bowl.

Place the carrot matchsticks in the same strainer and rinse with cold water, drain and add to the bowl with the radishes.

Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar and remove from heat. Once at room temperature, add the vinegar and pour over the daikon and carrots in the bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a at least 3 hours before using.

beef and onions
Stir-Fry Beef: Place the soy sauce, garlic, oil, S&P, cornstarch and baking soda on a large zip-lock bag and mix well to combine. Add the beef, zip the bag closed and use your hands to massage the marinade into the meat and marinate at room temperature for up to 30 minutes or refrigerate for at least an hour.

In a large wok or non-stick skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onions along with a light sprinkling of S&P, and stir-fry until soft and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add marinated beef and all the marinade from the bag and stir-fry until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.

nooddles on top

Vegetable Noodle Bowl: Divide the lettuce between 2 bowls, evenly divide the cucumber matchsticks between the bowls and place on top of the lettuce. Divide the mint and cilantro between the bowls, sprinkling on top. Divide the noodles between the bowls.

top with radish carrot

Use a slotted spoon to top with the pickled daikon and carrots.

top with beef

Divide the beef and onions evenly between the bowls.

Pour as much of the Fish Sauce Vinegar over the Bun Thit Bo as you would like (Tram and I used it all, and then I used a spoon to get all of it out of the bottom of the bowl when I was finished.) then sprinkle with peanuts.

Bun Thit Bo

Serve. Toss together before enjoying. And, oh how I enjoyed it – I could eat this everyday!

Serves 2


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3 comments

1 Marissa { 05.22.14 at 9:01 AM }

Yum!! And they are so stinkin’ cute!

2 Tram Mai { 05.22.14 at 11:18 AM }

It was sooo great to have you over for lunch!! This dish has been a childhood favorite of mine! And hopefully it will be Zak & Zoey’s too!! Thank you for the wonderful keepsake family blog!! Love & cherish it!! Xoxo

3 Maggie { 08.24.14 at 1:40 PM }

I was so excited to see that you posted the recipes for Tram Mai’s mother’s Vietnamese dishes (I’m sure I got all of those apostrophes wrong, sorry Tram 🙂 ) I am attempting to tackle this cuisine and these are so tasty! And, just as a side note, Tram looks AMAZING! Who has twins and looks so great (on camera too!) in no time at all!?! Linda, you rock and Happy 5th Blogiversary!

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