Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) for Two
Why This Recipe Works
Shaking beef is a Vietnamese cross between a beef stir-fry and a watercress salad. We used sirloin steak tips (aka flap meat) for their beefy flavor and pleasant chewy texture. We first marinated the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, and molasses and then reserved the marinade to make the glaze. We coated the meat with oil (to prevent splattering) and then cooked it in two batches to give it ample room in the skillet. True to the dish's name, we shook and stirred the beef to develop good browning and to deglaze the skillet, which prevented the fond from burning. After setting aside the meat, we lightly softened a red onion in butter, added the reserved marinade (along with garlic, water, and cornstarch) to the skillet, and cooked it down to a glossy consistency. We coated the meat with the sauce and then placed it atop the watercress, which had been lightly dressed with a mixture of lime juice and pepper (the rest of which served as a dipping sauce for the meat).
IngredientsPrint Shopping List
|2||teaspoons fish sauce|
|2||teaspoons soy sauce|
|8||ounces sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into ¾-inch cubes|
|2||ounces (2 cups) watercress, torn into bite-size pieces|
|2||tablespoons lime juice|
|1||garlic clove, minced|
|2||teaspoons vegetable oil, divided|
|1 ½||teaspoons unsalted butter|
|½||small red onion, sliced thin|
From The Shop
Sirloin steak tips are often sold as flap meat. They can be packaged as whole steaks, cubes, or strips. We prefer to buy whole steaks so we can cut our own steak tips. Maggi Seasoning can be used in place of the soy sauce, if desired. Serve with our Vietnamese Red Rice (Com Do) or steamed white rice.
Total time: 1 hour
1. Whisk fish sauce, soy sauce, and molasses together in medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Spread watercress in shallow serving bowl. Combine lime juice and pepper in small bowl and set aside.
2. Using tongs, transfer beef to second medium bowl, letting as much marinade as possible drain back into first bowl. Add water, garlic, and cornstarch to marinade in first bowl and whisk to combine; set aside. Add 1 teaspoon oil to beef and toss to coat.
3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Using tongs, wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Add beef to skillet, leaving space between pieces. Cook, shaking skillet gently and occasionally to capture any fond that collects on bottom of skillet, until beef is browned on first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring and shaking skillet frequently, until beef is coated and browned and center is just barely pink (to check for doneness, remove larger piece and cut in half), 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer beef to clean bowl.
4. Melt butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add reserved marinade and bring to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until marinade is thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. Add beef and any accumulated juices and toss to coat. Scatter beef mixture and sauce over watercress. Drizzle 1 teaspoon lime juice mixture over salad. Divide remaining lime juice mixture among 2 small bowls for dipping and serve with salad.
Get the Right Cress
In shaking beef, the watercress should provide peppery bite and crunch—elements that contrast with and balance the deeply savory meat. That's why it's important to buy watercress, not its land-dwelling relative called upland cress. The latter's more delicate stems and smaller leaves don't deliver the same substantial crunch.