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Grilled Beef with Lemon Grass and Garlic (Bo Nuong Xa Toi)

Lisa Romerein
Total time 2 hrs, 30 mins
Yield Makes 4 servings
A classic; also works with steamed rice. Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours to marinate. Notes: You can use a grill pan or broiler instead of a grill. (Broil onions first, about 10 in. from heat, and then beef, about 6 in. from heat.)


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (3 or 4 large cloves)
  • 1 1/2 stalks lemon grass, outer layer peeled off and inner core minced (about 3 tbsp.)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound beef tri-tip or round, sliced against the grain into 1/4-in. slices
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons and crushed unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Nutrition Information

  • calories 428
  • caloriesfromfat 61 %
  • protein 26 g
  • fat 29 g
  • satfat 7.9 g
  • carbohydrate 16 g
  • fiber 2.3 g
  • sodium 516 mg
  • cholesterol 74 mg

How to Make It

  1. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together sugar, pepper, garlic, lemon grass, fish sauce, and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add beef, toss to coat, and refrigerate 2 hours.

  2. Rub remaining 1 tbsp. oil over onions. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high heat (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Brush grill with vegetable oil. Thread onions onto two 8-in. metal skewers. Lay onion skewers on grill and cook (close lid on gas grill) until softened, about 15 minutes, turning skewers every 5 minutes or so.

  3. When onions are cooked halfway, lay beef slices on grill and cook (close lid on gas grill), turning once, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Arrange beef and onions on a platter and garnish with cilantro and peanuts.

  5. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.