Shaking Beef

  • Yield 4 servings

The widely popular Vietnamese dish, Shaking Beef (or Bo Luc Luc) and as such, has many variations on how it’s served. Some restaurants serve it with sauteed onions, lettuce, and rice (white or tomato paste rice) while others may present it more like a steak salad served on a bed of watercress and tomatoes, topped with pickled onions.

Leo Gong


2 pounds boneless New York strip steak, cut into approximately 1 1/2 in. cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
4 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
Vegetable oil
1/2 whole red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 bunches watercress, stems removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved


  1. To marinate the beef, put the beef in a bowl and toss it with the garlic, 11/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 11/2 teaspoons of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Let the meat marinate at room temperature while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, and the remaining 4 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the onion with the rice vinegar. Transfer the watercress to a serving platter and top with the tomatoes and the onion mixture.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the beef to the pan and cook for 2 minutes without touching it. Shake the pan vigorously to turn the beef (thus “shaking beef”), or if you want, just use tongs to turn the meat. Continue cooking until the meat is medium-rare, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Put the cooked beef on top of the bed of watercress. Repeat with the remaining beef and 1 tablespoon oil. Stir the dressing and drizzle about half of it over the meat and salad. Pass the remaining dressing at the table. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Variation:You can substitute baby spinach or a mesclun mix for the watercress, though this will significantly change the character of the dish, losing the peppery bite of the watercress.

Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell, Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. 



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