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Viet Fajitas

Viet Fajitas

Some recipes are better with company.

The first time I had these Viet Fajitas, Taylor and I were staying with our friends Julie & Curtis in Florida before last year’s Food Blog Forum (speaking of which, will I see you in Asheville this August?!) Anyway, she whipped out her trusty camp stove and cooked the fajita filling right on the table, in small batches as quickly as we could devour them. A perfect dish for entertaining, as each guest is responsible for rolling their own and you’re not stuck manhandling sticky rice paper wrappers for hours on end.

I think of that night fondly as an evening filled with good friends and good conversation and amazing food.

Taylor, on the other hand, thinks of Disney (that’s where we were headed the next day). He’s such a Disney addict, in fact, that when we recreated Julie’s recipe at home a few weeks ago he would not stop talking about Expedition Everest. Sigh. There’s a psychological basis for it, I’m sure, the association of specific foods and flavors with certain memories. And with Taylor, the likelihood that those memories involve Disney is dramatically higher than any other involuntary memory he may have stashed away in his head. I swear Disney takes up like 67% of his brain.

Viet Fajitas from @loveandoliveoil

While Viet Fajitas is not the traditional name for this dish (I won’t even try to spell or pronounce it), once you see what’s inside, the nickname will make complete sense. A sizzling hot filling with peppers and onions, much like a fajita but with traditional Vietnamese flavors, and wrapped in a starchy blanket of rice instead of flour. Just try not to stare at the word “fajita” too long, or your eyes will cross and you’ll start typing fatija. Tajifa. No. F-A-J-I-T-A.

What I love about these rolls is you don’t even need a dipping sauce like with most spring rolls, because the sauce is built-in to the filling itself, with a flavorful marinade-begets-sauce of lemongrass, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.

My rice paper wrapping skills (or lack thereof) need some serious practice, rice wrappers being uniquely sticky and hard to work with if you don’t know what you’re doing. I want to try some different brands to see if it makes a difference, but the key is to just barely moisten the wrapper. You do not need to soak it, and the water should only be lukewarm. A quick dip should be more than enough to soften the wrapper to where its foldable, but not overly sticky. Needless to say, I’m still trying to find that perfect balance.

Viet Fajitas

Yield: about 4 servings

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds beef (london broil or flank steak), sliced thinly across the grain into 1-inch strips
  • 2 teaspoons chopped lemongrass
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 package of rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package instructions
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 package of rice paper wrappers
  • lettuce, cilantro, sliced jalapenos

Directions:

  1. In a baking dish or zip-top bag, toss sliced beef with lemongrass, garlic, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you have the time.
  2. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions (do not overcook!) Drain thoroughly and and rinse with cold water. Set aside to dry.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Cook 1/4 of beef along with some of peppers and onions (taking care not to overcrowd the pan) until browned and cooked through. Repeat as needed with remaining filling, adding more butter and cooking in batches only as big as you can eat while still hot.
  4. Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water. Quickly dip one rice paper wrapper into water until moistened all over (it does not need to soak, just in and out). Set on a surface covered with a damp dish cloth or a cutting board. Arrange lettuce, rice noodles, beef, and toppings in a row about 1/3 of the way down the wrapper, leaving at least 1 inch of empty space on either end. Fold in sides, then roll. Slice in half and serve while still hot. Repeat with remaining filling.

Recipe from The Little Kitchen.

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26 CommentsLeave a Comment →

  1. 1
    Helenna
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 6:31 am

    I really like to eat and make this little guys. Easy to make, easy to eat. We can put anything we like inside it. I call it summer rolls and it very famous in Asia.

    Reply

  2. 2
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 8:10 am

    They look gorgeous! Having just been to Vietnam I can say that those look very similar. And they tatse sooo good and are healty in a way, Such a nice dish to prepare and eat right away with friends. 

    Reply

  3. 3
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

    These are called Rice Paper Rolls in Australia. They are soooo delish! Except for all the coriander (cilantro) in them, but the ones without coriander – delish!

    Reply

    • Michelle
      Posted On May 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I am sorry you don’t like cilantro!!! It always makes me sad when someone doesn’t enjoy it. To me it is one of life’s great pleasures. Does it taste soapy to you?

  4. 4
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

    So, so pretty, Lindsay!  Love the colors.

    And spring rolls and fajitas are two of my all-time favorites!  I love the mix!  :)

    Reply

  5. 5
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 10:14 am

    It looks so delicious!! I can’t wait to give it a try :)

    Reply

  6. 6
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I’m picturing you, Julie and spouses sitting around her table, cooking up these amazing fajitas together.  What a great way to spend an evening with friends!

    Reply

  7. 7
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Great recipe! I’d really like to give these a try sometime. : )

    Reply

  8. 8
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    They’re just gorgeous and I love the lighting! I have that plate, too. Thanks for the reminder to use it more :) Pinned!

    Reply

  9. 9
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I feel as though this shouldn’t be categorized or titled as Vietnamese especially when the only goi cuon-esque ingredients are the rice paper wrappers and the vermicelli noodles. This certainly does not have the traditional Vietnamese flavors that you’re going for. 

    Reply

    • Posted On May 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      I beg to differ, Nancy. :) This is my Mom’s recipe and she’s Vietnamese, can’t get anymore Vietnamese than that. The addition of peppers and onions was done later on, years later, she did this for my husband, Curtis. There are so many flavors in this dish that make it Vietnamese, the lemongrass, the oyster sauce… Anyways, I disagree! :)

    • Posted On May 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I half agree? I mean, the title itself: VIET FAJITAS. There’s viet flavours in there with some traditional Mexican ingredients =P 

  10. 10
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Wow-these look so incredible, need to try them…the flavor combo sounds amazing and the pictures (as always) are making my mouth water :)

    Reply

  11. 11
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Ahh “Banh Trang Cuong”!! My favorite vietnamese spring/summer dish :D These look really delicious. My lazy-version contains just prawns, shredded chicken, lettuce, mint and viet noodles (bun). Beef sounds so much better though… *drools* Smart move on calling these viet fajitas btw ;)

    Reply

  12. 12
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Yum! These look incredible! I live in a city that is predominantly Vietnamese and just wanted to let you know that name for these in English is “Vietnamese Spring Rolls” haha :) But I like Viet Fajitas too!

    Reply

  13. 13
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Gorgeous photos, these look amazing! I must ask however, with a slight hint of desperation, are those cat chopsticks and where can I buy several dozen?

    Reply

    • Posted On May 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Aren’t they adorable? I believe I got them in a little shop in Japantown in San Francisco. Not much help I know, sorry!

  14. 14
    Posted On May 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    and I just bought a new package of rice paper wraps…

    Reply

  15. 15
    Posted On May 9, 2014 at 5:57 am

    These look so good! And your pictures are gorgeous :-)

    Reply

  16. 16
    Posted On May 9, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Omg your blog makes me so hungry, it all looks so yummy!

    Reply

  17. 17
    Samie
    Posted On May 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Try putting the rice paper sheets between a wet linen or towels (top and bottom) instead of dipping them in water. They’ll stay damp and soft, but not too wet and sticky to roll! 

    Reply

  18. 18
    Posted On May 9, 2014 at 11:23 am

    What beautiful photos! These look so fresh and springy! 

    Reply

  19. 19
    Posted On May 11, 2014 at 2:10 am

    I am a huge fan of both the Vietnamese and the Mexican kitchen and I have fajitas in either form as often as I can… Lol… Now I can’t wait to try out these flavors and those chopsticks are just too cute!

    Reply

  20. 20
    Posted On May 12, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    These look so tasty, and I don’t even eat meat!  The options are endless, which is why I love rice paper wrappers!

    Reply

  21. 21
    Posted On May 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Beautiful!! I agree that some meals are simply better with company! 

    Reply

  22. 22
    Posted On May 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I only ever make cold ones with shrimp – these look delicious, so I’ve pinned for later! :D  Thanks!

    Reply

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