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Vietnamese Lemongrass Beef Satay Recipe (Thit Bo Nuong Xa)

Updated on April 8, 2011
Thit Bo Nuong Xa
Thit Bo Nuong Xa | Source

Thit Bo Nuong Xa

Satay or sate is always on the menu of Thai or other Southeast Asian restaurants. Basically this dish is marinated meat on the skewer and grilled over charcoal flame. There are a lot variants of satay according to the regions, chef cultural backgrounds and cooking method, but mostly the basic ingredients and cooking method mostly pretty much the same. Its consist of meat or meat analog and or vegetables, spices (coriander, turmeric, onion, etc), skewer, grilled over hot flame and serve with some dipping sauce, commonly peanut sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, etc. Satay has several other similar dishes in the culinary word. In Malaysia and Thailand known as satay, and sate for Indonesian; satti (Philippines), yakitori for Japanese; kebab (kabab) in Middle East; chuanr (chinese); banderilla (Mexico), etc.

Back several years ago, my Vietnamese friend introduce me to one variant of satay. It's called Thit Bo Nuong Xa or grilled lemongrass beef on skewers or I just simply called it Vietnamese lemongrass beef satay. This satay is little bit different than satay or sate that I use to taste. Flavored with lemongrass, distinctive savory and pungent shrimp / fish sauce, crunchiness of toasted sesame seeds, yet earthy hoisin dipping sauce make this dish is unforgettable. Here is my version of Thit Bo Nuong Xa recipe. This dish is best served with cold beer. Also great for appetizer. Give it a try but be warned they are addictively great.

These grilled lemongrass beef are great for stuffing your wrap, sandwich, summer roll, or even your stir-fried dishes or noodles.  Besides, it's less hassle since you have no need to skewer it. Just grill each strip directly to the flame. Enjoy !

What You Need For Fixing Thit Bo Nuong Xa


1 1/2 lbs lean beef (bottom loin/sirloin tip)

bamboo skewer

spicy hoisin sauce


2 stalk lemongrass, minced (about 4 tbsp)

1 medium red onion

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp shrimp sauce (man tom)

1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp vegetable oil


How to Make Thit Bo Nuong Xa

  1. Soak about 30 bamboo skewers in water for about 1 hour. Each of skewer about 10 inches long.
  2. Use mortar and pestle or mini food processor to make paste of red onion, garlic, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Transfer it to a bowl, then add fish sauce, shrimp sauce, oil, minced lemongrass and sesame seeds. Stir to combine.
  3. Slice the beef into 1/4 inch thick, 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Slice it across the grain to get tender cut. If you have problem to make thin cut, place beef in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes or until it's firm up. This will make it easier to cut.
  4. Add the sliced beef into marinade and stir it to combine. Make sure that each strip/piece of it is coated with marinade on each side. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at least 1 hour. To develop depth of flavor and tender meat, marinate it up to 24 hours in the fridge. Do not forget to remove from the fridge about 1 hour prior to threading.
  5. Prepare your charcoal grill and set it on a medium-low heat. If you are using broiler, put a rack at about 4 inches from the heat element and preheat your oven for about 15 minutes so it is ready and hot.
  6. While waiting your charcoal grill or oven is ready, drain your bamboo skewer and thread beef pieces onto it. Usually I like to put 2 strips on each skewer. If you are using oven and broil your satay, do not forget to layer your baking sheet with aluminum foil. Broil or grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until it's charred and browned.
  7. Your lemongrass beef satay is ready to serve. Put your skewers on a platter and serve it with warm steamed rice and spicy hoisin sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.


Easy Spicy Hoisin Sauce

6 tbsp hoisin sauce

3 tbsp water

3 tsp chili paste

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Ready to serve. 


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