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Saturday, September 26, 2009

If Martha were Vietnmese- Shaken Beef or Bò Lúc Lắc

This was SO good the very first time I made it... 'cause it has fillet in it!  There wasn't even a tiny piece left and the family licked their plates clean.  I asked my family what I could do better/different next time, and the only thing the could come up with was, "make more."  Speaking of which, I also doubled the recipe.  Speaking of which, the following is also adapted from a couple different recipes then I changed a couple other things too. 

The ingredients are easy to find at the Asian grocery, and it's pretty easy and fast to make too.  It's hard to go wrong with fillet, which can be substituted with porterhouse, sirloin... and is cooked (tossed or quickly stirred-thus "shaken" beef) quickly in a very hot wok or skillet till it is seared on the outside and still a little pink on the inside.  Then the beef rests on a bed a watercress.  I'd never really cooked or even eaten watercress for that matter.  It has a tiny little bite like a radish and goes SO well with the sweet tangy marinades.  We served it with white rice.  Even my kiddos loved it.  I'm SO wishing there were leftovers. 

This will be a family staple in our home for sure!

So let's get started-
First a warning from the surgeon general-

This recipe is not intended to be used for a fist date or any form of romantic evening!  Did you see the garlic?  That's 5 cloves!  Did you note the onion?  I will considered you fairly warned!

First I prepare the marinade for the beef. 
Yep, that's where most of that garlic went, and I'm still tasting it the next morning.

and speaking of the assorted sauces used to make the recipe...
...they're cool looking!  From left to right, soy, oyster, and fish sauce.  Maybe I'm easily impressed.

Now I'm gonna mix up the marinade with the beef cubes and let it marinade for about 30 min.

Meanwhile slice the red onion paper-thin and mix it with its marinade. 

Let onion marinade for approx 10 min then pour over watercress and toss.

Wait!  I'm getting out the watercress and notice something unusual... What's this in my fridge? 
It's a VooDoo tangerine of course!  It has nothing to do with shaken beef.  Why would it be in my fridge?  Why would someone stick pins in it?  Who resembles a tangerine that we don't like?  Could we be against ALL citrus fruit in general? 
All unanswered question from crazy land!

Mound watercress onion mixture on the plate.
Looks pretty already!

The beef has been marinading for 30 min now, so I heat up my wok really hot and add the last clove of chopped up garlic.  (You can use a hot skillet too if you're wok-less.)  You want to cook it pretty quickly, "shaking" it (mixing) as you go.  It should be seared but leave it still a little pink inside.

     That's not done yet, but when it is, pour cooked beef over top of watercress with all its lovely juices and mmmmmmmm!


Vietnamese Shaken Beef or Bò Lúc Lắc (serves approx 6)

Ingredients -
  • 1-2 lbs beef steak (fillet, sirloin, porterhouse...) cut into 1" cubes
  • 4+1 cloves garlic-chopped
  • 3 t oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1+1 t fish sauce
  • 1+1 t sugar
  • 1 t oyster sauce
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 red onion-sliced paper thin
  • 1 T vinegar (red wine or cider)
  • dash salt
  • 3 cups watercress-thick stems removed
          1--Make marinade for beef by combining 4 cloves of chopped garlic, 3 t oil, 1 t fish sauce, 1 t soy sauce, 1 t oyster sauce, 1 t sugar, and a dash of pepper. Mix well to dissolve sugar. Add meat, stir to coat, and set aside to marinade for 30 minutes.
          2--Make marinade for onions by combining vinegar, 1 t fish sauce, and 1 t sugar. Mix well to dissolve sugar. Add paper thin onion slices, stir to coat, and set aside to marinade for 10 minutes.
          3--After onions have marinade add a dash of salt. Mix to coat. Combine watercress with onion mixture. Mound on serving platter. (for individual plating, mound 1/6th of salad on individual plates.)
          4--Heat approx 1 t oil in wok or skillet and heat till very hot. Add last clove of chopped garlic and stir. Add beef cubes and fry quickly till seared on the outside, but still a little pink on the inside. Pour over watercress.
PS- As I sit and type J&T are eating lunch in high chairs. I just looked up to see Jujube splattering milk all over his chair, himself, Tess, her chair, the floor, and the surrounding cabinetry. Bad mama for not supervising more carefully! No time for spell check. Gotta get out the mop.


  1. More recipes. Yay! Keep them coming. Not that I will get to try them all, but I just love to read them and see your gorgeous photographs! lol

  2. Yum.... but I must know the story behind the tangerine. I mean, really! : )

  3. Made it for dinner tonight! Absolutely wonderful. Loved it! Thanks for posting the recipe!!

  4. Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog tonight. Our son is also adopted from Vietnam. This recipe looks delicious and easy. One question: Does 1/2 pound of beef really feed six people, or is that 1 to 2 pounds of beef? Thanks!

  5. Hi. I just stumbled across your blog tonight. We also adopted our son from Vietnam. This recipe looks delicious and easy! One question, though: Does 1/2 pound of beef really feed six people, or is it meant to say 1 to 2 pounds? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer. You are totally right. It's 1-2 lbs. I just changed the recipe. Thank you for pointing it out!

    2. Thanks, Nancy. I'm going to give it a try this week!


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