Fresh herbs, beef, and a tasty dipping sauce make this dish delicious. This is a recipe we love to do in our family. We bring a portable stove to the table and cook the beef right there. It makes it a fun experience and is delicious to boot.
First you will want to prep all you greens. Wash them well and spin them in a salad spinner. Thinly slice a cucumber the long way.
If you are going to use rice noodles, cook them according to the package directions.
Make fish sauce dipping sauce. There is a certain art to making fish sauce dipping sauce and everyone's tastes are different. But a good jumping-off point is to add equal parts water, fish sauce, and sugar. I like mine saltier so I add more fish sauce. For this dish, we made a garlic fish sauce by first pounding about 3-4 cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle then add sugar, warm water, and fish sauce. If you like it spicier add some Thai chilis.
Set out the stove and pan on the table, have the raw beef on a platter and a stick or two of butter ready. You can let each person cook up their beef, place it on a rice paper wrapper, add fresh herbs and noodles and roll. After finishing a roll, people can cook more beef at their leisure.
We got this super cool rice paper water tray which is great for any dish similar to this that has people rolling at the table. The trick is to dip and give it one spin so that the entire rice paper has been submerged and remove it quickly and place it on a plate. You will then want to immediately start to assemble your roll and start rolling when it has just become flexible. If you let it sit too long it will become too soft and it will be difficult to roll.
After you quickly wet your rice paper wrapper place it on the plate, it will soften quite quickly, so you might want to work fast, the softer it gets the harder it is to roll.
Place your fresh herbs, cucumber, and rice noodles (or rice, like my kids like it).
Place the beef on top.
Place everything slightly to one end then fold over the shorter end of the rice paper wrapper over and tuck it under your fillings, encasing them. You will want to keep the tension but don't be too rough with it or it can split open. It takes some practice but even a misshapen roll is delicious. You can choose to fold over the sides after the first tuck, or keep the ends open like in the pictures.