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Serve your guests a "two-jewel" dinner ... Asian fondue and soup.

Serve your guests a "two-jewel' dinner . . . Asian fondue and soup

On special occasions in Vietnam, familiescelebrate with a dinner composed of seven small courses--"seven jewels'--all made with beef. Kim Quy Tran proposes a Western variation on the meal, featuring two of the principal dishes; the combination works very well if you're entertaining 6 to 8 people at home.

You start with a light Asian version ofbeef fondue with accompaniments of crisp fruit, vegetables, herbs, and a lively sauce. You end, Asian fashion, with soup.

All the ingredients are arranged wellahead and presented at the table.

For the fondue, set a container of theboiling, pungent broth on a portable burner within easy reach of everyone at the table, and keep it simmering. With 6 guests, 1 burner is adequate; with 8, it is more convenient to have 2 burners.

Each guest, using chopsticks or a forkwith a long handle, passes one or two thin slices of beef at a time through the hot broth--the meat is cooked in seconds.

Then the cooked meat is wrapped inmoistened edible rice paper along with lettuce, mint, and slivers of carrots and apples; the roll is dipped in the sweet-tart-hot sauce and eaten. Guests need to moisten each round of dry rice paper with water just before using.

To serve the soup, bring cooked-aheadrice-ginger broth to boiling and pour over raw meat. The hot broth cooks the beef.

End dinner with sliced tropical fruit to eatplain or with coconut ice cream.

You may need to shop in an Asian marketfor the dried rice paper rounds, fish sauce, daikon, carambola, and lemon grass. If they are unavailable, use the alternatives suggested. Use lettuce leaves alone as wrappers if you can't find the rice paper.

It is easiest to buy 1 piece of eye of roundfor the 2 courses. Ask your meatman to thinly slice the meat for the fondue. You can mince some of the slices for the soup in the food processor or with a knife.

Vietnamese Beef Fondue with Vinegar (Bo Nhung Giam)

1/4 cup each sugar, white distilledvinegar, and water

1 piece daikon (about 3 in. long),peeled, optional

1 large carrot, peeled and cut intomatchstick-size sticks

1 1/2 pounds beef eye of round, trimmedof fat and sliced across the grain as thinly as possible

1 large head (3/4 lb.) red leaf lettuce,washed and dried

1 small cucumber, cut intomatchstick-size sticks

1 large tart green apple, cut intomatchstick-size sticks and dipped in lemon or lime juice; or 2 small star fruit (carambola), thinly sliced crosswise

1 cup lightly packed fresh mint sprigs

1 cup lightly packed fresh coriander(cilantro) sprigs

Dipping sauce (recipe follows)

Cooking broth (recipe follows)

30 to 40 pieces edible rice paper (6- or8-in. diameter), about 1/2 pound

In a bowl, stir together sugar, vinegar,and water until sugar dissolves. Cut 1/4-inch-deep notches down the length of the daikon, spaced about 1/2 inch apart, then thinly slice daikon crosswise. Mix daikon and carrot with vinegar mixture; cover and chill, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Arrange beef slices in overlapping layerson 1 or 2 platters. Drain daikon and carrot. On 1 or 2 additional platters or in shallow baskets, cluster piles of daikon, carrot, lettuce, cucumber, apple, mint, and coriander. (If done ahead, cover and chill platters up to 4 hours.)

To serve, pour dipping sauce into 6 to 8small bowls. Bring cooking broth to a boil, place over portable tabletop burner, and keep simmering (if you use 2 burners, double the amount of cooking broth and place in 2 pans). Place platters of foods alongside burners.

Using a spray bottle with water, or a bowlof water with brush, lightly moisten both sides of 6 to 8 pieces of rice paper and place each on a dinner plate or in a single layer on a tray (paper will stick if stacked); let stand until pliable, about 30 seconds. Moisten more paper as needed.

To eat, place a small piece of lettuce and afew pieces of daikon, carrot, cucumber, apple, mint, and coriander on the moistened paper. With chopsticks, drop a slice of meat into cooking broth and cook just until it loses its pinkness on the outside but is still rare inside, about 30 seconds. Lift out meat and place on vegetables. Fold bottom of rice paper up and sides in. Pick up and dip in sauce to eat. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cooking broth. In a 2- to 3-quart pan,combine 2 cups white distilled vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon grass (optional), 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons salad oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 6 thin slices (each about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger, 8 thin slices yellow or white onion, and 2 green onions, roots trimmed off and cut into 1-inch lengths.

Dipping sauce. Mix 3/4 cup each water,fish sauce (nuoc mam) or soy sauce, white distilled vinegar, and sugar with 1/4 cup finely shredded carrot, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 4 teaspoons minced seeded fresh hot chili (jalapeno, or red chili paste, or crushed dried hot red chilies), and 12 cloves garlic, pressed or minced.

Beef Rice Soup (Chao Bo)

2 quarts water

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

6 thin slices (each about the size of aquarter) fresh ginger

2 tablespoons fish sauce (nuoc mam)or soy sauce

4 teaspoons sugarSalt

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/2 pound lean beef such as eye ofround or flank steak, minced

1 tablespoon chopped freshcoriander (cilantro)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dipping sauce (recipe above)

In a 3- to 4-quart pan, combine water,rice, and ginger. Bring to boiling and simmer, covered, until rice is very tender to bite, about 30 minutes. Add fish sauce, sugar, and salt to taste. Set aside as long as 4 hours.

Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-inch frying pan,combine oil, garlic, and lemon grass. Stir over low heat just until garlic is golden; set garlic oil aside.

Mix green onion and beef in a tureen. Toserve, bring broth to boiling and add garlic oil. Pour boiling hot soup over meat and stir. Sprinkle with coriander and pepper. Offer dipping sauce to season as desired. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Photo: Several dishes ofchef Kim Quy Tran's seven-jewel beef dinner at San Francisco's Golden Turtle are pictured here. Our recipes present the fondue that begins the meal (the two plates in foreground, with fondue pot) and the soup that ends it. Here chef Tran pours hot broth into seasoned minced meat

Photo: Set up at home, here's how Vietnamesebeef fondue works: you dip beef slices in pot of simmering vinegar broth (left); place on moistened rice paper (above) with lettuce, carrot, daikon, apple, mint; then roll up and dip in sauce to eat

Photo: Pour simmering broth, flecked with tender grains of rice, over minced beef; the very hot liquid quickly and lightly cooks the meat to make a refreshing soup
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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1987
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