Vietnamese Rare Beef in Lime Juice Salad (Bo tai chanh)

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Vietnamese rare beef in lime juice (bo tai chanh) is a refreshing beef salad with a tangy flavor profile. Learn the safe method to make and enjoy the dish in this post.

a plate of Vietnamese rare beef in lime juice salad (bo tai chanh) with extra roasted peanuts on the side.

Bò tái chanh is one of the popular salads of Northern Vietnam. The salad tastes best once slightly chilled in the refrigerator. As a result, I find it perfect as a summer side dish alongside a cold beverage.

The dish consists of beef cured in lime juice, crunchy carrots, onions, refreshing herbs, and roasted peanuts. I like to use a lot of cilantro, mint, and Thai basil for the salad. Also, be very generous with the roasted peanuts.

plates containing add-in ingredients for Vietnamese rare beef in lime juice salad.
Add-ins for the salad

In Northern Vietnam, people sometimes use veal in a similar way and the salad with veal is called be tai chanh (veal means “bê” in Vietnamese). If you have veal meat on hand, you can try this recipe with it. Then top the salad with a lot of toasted sesame seeds instead of roasted peanuts.

In Southern Vietnam, there’s a similar version of rare beef salad, called bò bóp thấu. The Southern version may use some different add-ins, such as star fruits, pineapples, Vietnamese coriander, and saw-tooth leaves.

A Safe Method to Make Bò Tái Chanh

The name of this salad describes how it is prepared. Originally, the beef is not cooked by heat; instead, it is sliced thinly, soaked in lime juice and chilled in the refrigerator. After 30 minutes to an hour, it will be “cooked” by the lime juice acid.

There are risks associated with eating raw meat. Therefore, we tested and found a safer way to prepare this Vietnamese rare beef salad without compromising its taste. Simply add an extra step: sear the beef until it reaches medium-rare (or medium) doneness. Then slice into thin slices and cure them in lime juice.

flank steak being seared in a cast iron skillet.

We also experimented with marinating the raw beef slices in lime juice first, and then briefly sautéing them. However, the texture of beef cooked in this way is completely different from that of rare beef cured in lime juice. Thus, I don’t recommend this method. The result is much inferior to the searing method above.

Note: the post was originally posted on May 25th, 2017. It has been updated with new photos and revised instructions in April, 2024.

Related: check out other Vietnamese beef recipes here.

a plate of Vietnamese rare beef in lime juice (bo tai chanh).

Vietnamese Rare Beef in Lime Juice Salad

Vietnamese rare beef in lime juice (Bo tai chanh) is a refreshing salad perfect for hot summer days. The beef is briefly cooked, then sliced and marinated in lime juice to give it a tangy flavor profile.
Author: Sophie
4.50 from 2 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients
 

For the onion and carrot

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small or medium carrot, julienned
  • ½ cup water
  • tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

For the beef

  • 8 oz beef
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • black pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)

Other ingredients

  • teaspoons fish sauce (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (to taste)
  • cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • cup mint, roughly chopped
  • cup Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • roasted peanuts, lightly crushed (about ¼ cup or 30-40g)

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, mix together the water, vinegar, and sugar for the carrot and onion. Add onion slices and julienned carrots. Toss then cover and put in the refrigerator until assembling the dish.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the beef with salt and pepper (I use about ⅛ teaspoon salt for each side).
  • Place a skillet over medium heat and once it is hot, add some cooking oil. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the beef. Sear each side for about 2 – 2½ minutes for medium-rare or medium doneness. Cooking time will depend on the heat and the thickness of the beef.
  • Transfer the beef to a clean plate and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then slice it as thinly as you can and place the beef slices in a mixing bowl.
  • Add minced garlic, lime juice, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt (under the For the beef section) to the mixing bowl. Toss well and let the beef marinate for at minimum 5-10 minutes. If you have time, marinate and chill the beef in the refrigerator before serving.
  • To assemble the dish, toss the cured beef, carrots, and onions with the fish sauce and sugar in the Other ingredients section. Gently mix in the herbs.
  • Transfer the salad to serving plates and sprinkle with plenty of roasted peanuts.

Notes

For this recipe, it is best to use steak cut that can be sliced thinly against the grain after searing. I use flank steak, but if you prefer something more tender, you can try other cuts such as tenderloin. Tender cuts may need less curing time in the lime juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1042mg | Potassium: 608mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5818IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Appetizers and Side dishes, Salad
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bo tai chanh, Vietnamese rare beef salad
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⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

Old photos

Vietnamese Rare beef in lime juice salad
Vietnamese Rare Beef in lime juice salad (bo tai chanh)

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