Here’s a refreshing vegetarian translation of a traditional meat dish that can be served as a starter or side dish during the summer.
Chef and Potluck Hawker Eatery co-owner Justin Cheung shares his adaptation of beef carpaccio that uses influences from Southeast Asian cuisine.
Yield: for 2 people
2 to 3 small beets
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons of vegetarian fish sauce
1 bird’s eye chili, seeded and finely diced
1 shallot, sliced
half a cup of vegetable oil
Cover the beets with cold water and boil for 1 hour or until tender. You should be able to easily pierce a paring knife and pull it out.
When the beets are cooked, run under cold water and remove the skin with a paper towel.
Using a mandolin, thinly slice into slices and place directly on a large plate.
For the shallots:
Slice with a mandolin.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan until the oil shines but does not smoke.
Stir in the shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until they begin to turn lightly browned. The moisture should have evaporated and the amount of bubbles and steam should be minimal.
Drain the shallots and place them on a plate covered with paper towels.
Drain them with a fork or chopsticks and let them cool.
Keep the oil for the vinaigrette and the future stir-fry.
For the dressing:
In a small bowl, combine the chopped shallot, chili, vegetarian fish sauce and lime juice.
Pour a thin layer of dressing over the beets or as desired.
Once the dressing sits and marinates the beets, the natural beet juice is released, giving the dressing a lovely color.
Optional: add a teaspoon or two of reserved shallot oil.
Sprinkle with herbs freshly picked and plucked from your garden.
Cilantro, mint, shiso, rau ram and chives are very complementary.
Finally, decorate with a few fresh fried shallots.
(If you can’t fry your own, the store-bought one will make a good substitute. Try to find one that doesn’t have fillers like flour.)