1 long, skinny, red chili pepper, jalapeno or Serrano, cored, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons carrot, shredded
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Combine beef in a bowl with lime zest, fish sauce, chile paste, ginger, garlic and shallots. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
Making the noodles…
Follow package instruction for vermicelli or bun noodles. Essentially, cook the vermicelli in a large saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the noodles to stand in the water for 5 more minutes. Strain in a colander and rinse under cold water, then cover with a damp towel and set aside at room temperature.
In a large bowl, toss the cucumber, mint, cilantro and lettuce.
Making the dipping sauce…
Stir together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, water, and sugar in microwave for 1 minute to melt sugar. Let cool. Add the garlic, chili, carrot and lime juice to the dipping sauce. (the sauce can be made a day or two ahead)
Cooking the beef…
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in two batches, stir-fry the beef until browned and caramelized, cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Repeat. Return the first batch of beef to the wok and heat through.
When ready to serve, divide the rice noodles among 4 serving bowls. Top with lettuce mixture.
Serve the sizzling hot beef on top of the rice noodle salad and sprinkle with the peanuts. Drizzle the dipping sauce over top.