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Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)

Quick and tasty Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) which you can make in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients

For the marinade

For the Shaking Beef

To serve

Instructions

  1. Place the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl which will fit the beef later.
  2. Lighty mix the marinade together.
  3. Cut the beef into large cubes, roughly 2 cm or 1 inch in size.
  4. Add the beef cubes to the marinade and mix to combine.
  5. Leave the beef to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Slice the onions.
  7. Finely chop the garlic.
  8. Wash and spin-dry the watercress leaves or salad leaves.
  9. Place the leaves onto a large plate or platter.
  10. Heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan with some vegetable oil on very-high heat.
  11. Cook the beef in batches, using tongs to turn them so that each side of the beef cubes can brown and caramelise. Or, if you are highly skilled, you can toss the beef by shaking the pan. This should take less than 1 minute per side. Try not to over-cook the meat, otherwise it will be tough and chewy. Due to the sugar content in the marinade, there will be a lot of splatter!
  12. Once all sides of the beef cubes are nicely caramelised, remove the meat to large plate.
  13. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, taking care to not burn the garlic.
  14. Return the meat to the pan, together with any juices which have collected on the plate.
  15. At this point, I like to add a generous grinding of freshly ground black pepper. But you can omit this step if you don’t like spicy food or you are feeding children.
  16. Mix or toss everything together. A bit of sauce should start to form at the bottom of the pan.
  17. Place the cooked meat on top of the salad leaves, together with any pan juices. The heat from the meat will gently wilt the salad leaves.
  18. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Notes

DIPPING SAUCE
In my family, we didn’t serve Vietnamese Shaking Beef with a dipping sauce, although a small bottle of soy sauce was never far away. But I have eaten this dish in some homes who serve it with a lime dipping sauce, which you can make by mixing together the juice of 1 lime (or lemon), 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper.

COOKING FOR KIDS
If you are making this dish for kids, I recommend reducing the amount of pepper in the marinade. What I often do is stir-fry a small batch of beef for the kids and then set this aside for them. For the remaining beef (for the adults), I will add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper at the end of cooking.

WHICH TYPE OF SALAD TO USE
Vietnamese Shaking Beef is traditionally served on a bed of watercress. But you could also use common green salad leaves, or a mix of salad leaves.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.