Cambodian Marinated Beef with a Lime and Black Pepper Dipping Sauce (Loc lac)

A Cambodian beef recipe by Rick Stein. The sirloin steak is marinated in ginger, lime and spice before being fried and served in lettuce with peanuts and sauce.

Introduction

I got this dish from a restaurant in Kampot called Ta Ouv, but I’ve changed it a little. Before the French left Cambodia, and indeed until the Khmer Rouge put paid to any exports from Cambodia, Kampot pepper was the most revered in the world, particularly in France. It has a complex flavour, and is used to great effect in the dipping sauce just black pepper, lime juice and salt - that accompanies this stir-fry. Sometimes beef loc lac comes on a plate garnished with lettuce, tomato and onion, and it is often topped with a well-fried egg. Wrap the lettuce around the beef, then dip in the hot-sour sauce.

SERVES 4 AS A MAIN COURSE OR 8 AS A STARTER
Easy

Ingredients

500g rump or sirloin steak
1 iceberg or romaine lettuce heart, broken into leaves
1 beef tomato, halved and thinly sliced
1 small onion, halved and sliced
50g roasted peanuts, chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
For the marinade:
1 medium-hot red chilli, roughly chopped
15g garlic, roughly chopped
25g peeled ginger, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp palm sugar
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the dipping sauce:
Juice of ½ lime
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Instructions

Trim the beef of all fat, then cut into 2.5-3cm pieces. Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a mini food processor and blend together until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the beef and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Shortly before serving, arrange the lettuce leaves and sliced tomato and onion on a serving platter. Put the chopped peanuts into a small bowl. For the dipping sauce, mix the lime juice and pepper with ¼ teaspoon salt and divide between 4 small dipping saucers.

Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large deep frying pan over a high heat. Lift half the beef out of the marinade, add to the pan and stir-fry for 3 minutes until nicely browned on the outside but still rare in the centre (not how they do it in Cambodia, where they prefer it well done, but how I like it). Spoon the beef onto a warmed serving plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.

Take the plate of beef to the table with the salad, peanuts and dipping sauce. Instruct your diners to wrap some beef in a lettuce leaf with peanuts, sliced onion and tomato, and dip into the sauce.

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