This classic Thai dressing is hot, sour and tangy. It is excellent over grilled meat or fish, or tossed in salads with fresh herbs, such as mint and coriander. I use beef, but you could use barbecued chicken, prawns, calamari or even Chinese pork. Adjust the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice to taste. If you don't want it too hot, remove the seeds from the chillies beforehand.
5 red and green chillies
1 clove garlic
1 small knob ginger
5 coriander root and stem
100g palm sugar (if unavailable use brown sugar)
3 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 2-3 limes or lemons
600g beef (eye fillet, porterhouse or rump)
1/2 pkt rice vermicelli noodles
fresh herbs (mint, coriander and/or Vietnamese mint)
For the dressing
Roughly chop the chillies, garlic and ginger. Add the coriander roots and stem. Using a mortar and pestle or blender, crush until you have a rough paste. (Alternatively, chop all as finely as possible.) Add sugar in small amounts until dissolved. Add fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
For the salad
Grill, fry or barbecue beef to your liking, season with salt and rest before cutting into thin slices.
Soak noodles in warm water until soft, drain and toss together with the beef, herbs and dressing.