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*Note: Gochujang is a Korean fermented chile paste, traditionally aged in clay pots. It's used as a condiment in many Korean dishes, and is available at Asian markets.
- 1 Pound sirloin beef
- 2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon gochujang paste*
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice-wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
- 2 Teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Mince the beef and set aside. Place a large sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is piping hot, remove it from the heat, add the grapeseed oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, add the meat, and toss quickly until just coated in the oil (the beef will still be raw, but "shaken"). Transfer the meat to a bowl and immediately place in the refrigerator.
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, gochujang paste, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, Sriracha, ginger, salt, and sugar. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chilled beef, sesame seeds, and mint. Toss gently to combine and serve.
Calories Per Serving425
Folate equivalent (total)22µg5%
Bò Lúc Lắc, which translates to Shaken Beef (with lúc lắc being an onomatopoeic word for the sound of the beef cubes being shaken about in the pan, and bò meaning beef) is a Vietnamese dish that came about as a result of French colonization. Until the French arrived with their appetite for beef, cows were only seen as working animals (the way we see horses in America today).
There are many different ways to make and serve this dish, depending on who's cooking it. Sometimes it&rsquos stir fried with chunky white onion and bell pepper pieces other times, it&rsquos solely accompanied by thin slices of red onion. Growing up, I&rsquove had shaken beef served with a bowl-shaped mound of white rice or atop a bed of iceberg lettuce and tomato slices. Since then, I&rsquove seen it coupled with thick-cut french fries or orange-red tomato rice. For this recipe, I opted to cook it with the vegetables in the bò lúc lắc I grew up eating&mdashwith the exception of the iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, which I swapped for watercress, another popular shaken beef pairing.
It&rsquos my dad&rsquos favorite Vietnamese dish, and he&rsquos happy with it, so I hope you will enjoy it too!
Made this yet? Let us know how it went in the comments below!
beef sirloin, filet, or ribeye, trimmed of any excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
bunch watercress, washed, with tough stems removed
red bell peppers, diced roughly into 1-inch pieces
white or yellow onion, diced roughly into 1-inch pices
stalks of green onion, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts dividied
Bo Luc Lac "French-Vietnamese Shaking Beef"
Whisk garlic, oyster sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce together in a bowl add beef. Marinate beef in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Whisk vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt together in a bowl until vinaigrette is smooth add onion. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to pickle the onion.
Whisk lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until dipping sauce is smooth. Transfer dipping sauce to ramekins.
Heat cooking oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat until oil starts to smoke add beef. Cook in a single layer until beef is seared, about 2 minutes. Cook and stir (or "shake") until beef reaches desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes.
Spread watercress onto a serving plate and top with tomatoes. Drizzle vinaigrette over tomatoes and layer beef onto watercress top with onion. Serve dipping sauce on the side.
How to Make Vietnamese Shaking Beef
Start by cutting your beef – for this recipe, I am using ribeye steak – into 1-inch cubes.
To make the marinade, smash your garlic cloves with a mortar & pestle to release the flavor. If you don’t have a mortar & pestle available, you can also chop the cloves finely. Combine the garlic with brown sugar, light soy sauce, and oyster sauce, and marinate the beef cubes for at least 1 hour.
Once your beef is marinated, place your wok on high heat and add neutral oil.
Now for the “shaking” part of the recipe! Add your beef cubes to the wok and shake it to toss the beef around. This motion will help the meat sear on all sides.
If you’re not sure how to do this, grasp the handle of the wok and move it forward and back. If you do this motion quickly enough (aim for jerking movements), the beef will tumble from the farther side of the wok back to the center, and you’ll be able to sear the other side.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time, practice makes perfect!
Do this on high-heat for about 4-5 minutes for medium to medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and enjoy.
Bò Lúc Lắc Recipe (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)
Seared, fatty ribeye with aromatic onions paired with the sweet and citric flavors of tomato rice. Can you feel your mouth watering? Bò lúc lắc is a very accessible dish because it has the familiar taste of steak and onions with a twist. It’s most popularly called “shaking beef,” but makes more sense as “shaken beef” to me (because it’s obviously not quivering on the plate).
While “bò” means “beef,” “lúc lắc” is likely onomatopoeia for the shaking sounds you hear in the wok as you cook the beef. You can find it in many Vietnamese restaurant these days, but I enjoy cooking this dish at home because it’s so easy to make.
Historically, dishes with beef were uncommon in Vietnam until French colonization in the 19th century. Beef was still a luxury, so dishes like bò lúc lắc were reserved for the upper class and special occasions. These days, meat is much more affordable and bò lúc lắc has turned into an everyday dish.
Since this is a quick sear in the pan, we want to go with something more tender and something that cooks fast. Tenderloin is always a good but expensive choice. For this recipe we used ribeye, which has a good amount of fat and good flavor.
For the marinade, you want to cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, minced garlic, garlic oil, and sugar in a bowl and marinate the meat for at least 1 hour. This serves as a great base for flavorful meat bites.
Before cooking the steak bites, you want to quickly saute the veggies in a pan over medium heat. You don’t want to soften the vegetables too much, just enough to get a good texture to eat with the tender steak.
As with all steak, it’s best to let it come to room temp before cooking so you can get a proper gradient of done-ness without a super raw center. You’ll need to adjust your heat accordingly to get a proper sear without cooking the center too much though.
Since steak is cooked to proper done-ness on the first go, it must get cooked more if you reheat it so this is best eaten immediately. Of course if you must make more to eat throughout the week, it reheats ok too.
Bò lúc lắc is often served on a bed of greens (particularly watercress) and mixed with fresh slices of tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled onions. Veggies are optional, so if you’re scared at least include the onion. This dish also has a lime based dipping sauce that is easy to make, it’s just a mix of lime, salt, and pepper.
My favorite restaurant for this dish serves it with tomato rice, which takes this dish to a whole other level. To make the rice, all you need to do is mix cooked rice with sauteed garlic, tomato paste, and some fish sauce.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef
I often crave the tangy, salty, sweet flavors of Shaking Beef so I order it often in Vietnamese restaurants. I never thought about cooking it at home until recently I became intrigued by a recipe in Milk Street magazine. They said "Built from only 8 ingredients, this steak salad outstripped any we'd ever had." That is quite an endorsement. Did the recipe live up to this hype? You bet.
Milk Street is the magazine started by Christopher Kimball when he acrimoniously separated from America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated. It is named after the street in Boston where the magazine is published
Shaking Beef, known as Bò Lúc Lắc in Viet Nam, is so named because the pan it cooks in is constantly shaken. Milk Street, however, suggests not shaking the pan and turning the beef only once, so the meat gets a nice brown sear on the bottom. Rather than cutting the beef into small pieces, they cut it into larger cubes so you can cook it medium rare, if desired..
ABOUT FISH SAUCE
Made from salted fermented fish, fish sauce is a staple ingredient for seasoning in many Southeast Asian cuisines, most commonly Vietnamese and Thai. Known as nuoc mam in Vietnamese and nam pla in Thai, the name means fish sauce, or fish water. Fish sauce is amber in color, and is typically produced using small ocean fish, mostly anchovies, but depending on the brand, it may also include sardines, mackerel, herring, or carp, as well as other ingredients like sugar or preservatives. All brands differ slightly, but the 2 are most likely to find in Asian or American markets are A Taste of Thai and Three Crabs. Other highly rated brands are Red Boat, Tiparos and Shrimp and Crab. Any of them work well in this recipe. Do not purchase small bottles, because it is said that they are not the same quality.
ABOUT THE MEAT
I like to use either filet mignon, beef sirloin tips or tri-tip. (The same cut is called sirloin tip on the east coast and tri-tip on the west.) The key to success is to cut the meat into 1" to 1 1/2" cubes and not much smaller. This size minimizes the chance of overcooking the meat. For best results, do not move the beef while it is browning. You want to get a good sear on it before turning..
This recipe, like all stir fries, is amazingly quick once you have assembled the ingredients. And the list of ingredients is so short and easy to prep that making it is really quick. Peppery watercress pairs well with the tangy, slightly salty beef and a nice squeeze of lime over all brightens the flavors.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef
1½ pounds beef filet, sirloin tips or tri tip
3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
5 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus wine wedges for serving
3 tablespoons fish sauce (Vietnamese Phu Quoc brand preferred)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
1 small red onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 bunch watercress, stemmed or 4 oz. baby watercress, for serving
To make this Vietnamese beef dish at home, first, you combine garlic, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil together.
Marinate the beef with the sauce.
Next, heat a wok and sear and cook the beef until both sides turn brown. Shake and toss the wok while cooking the beef.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Fish sauce – Adds saltiness to the recipe. My favorite brand of fish sauce to use is Three Crabs, but any brand of fish sauce should work. You can get fish sauce at any major grocery store!
- Oyster sauce – A bit of a strong flavor, but this is used to add more umami flavor to the marinade. Oyster sauce nowadays can be found in major grocery chains as well as Asian markets.
- Brown sugar – This ingredient adds some sweetness to the marinade. If you want a healthier alternative to brown sugar, substitute with coconut sugar.
- Black soy sauce – If you can’t find black soy sauce, substitute with regular soy sauce. To make this dish gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.
- Sake (optional) – I added this because I felt inspired watching Queer Eye Japan, but it does add some great flavor to the marinade. Optional though!
- Ribeye steak – Ribeye steak has great a proportion of fat on it which is why I like to use it for this dish. You can use any cut of steak, but I would highly recommend one with some fat on it. The fat adds moisture and flavor to the meat. Some people have used filet mignon to make a really fancy version of this dish.
- Rice wine vinegar – This is used for the pickling liquid. You can use any type of white vinegar for pickling.
- Lettuce – The best lettuce to use is green lettuce. I don’t love iceberg or red lettuce for this dish.
- Tomatoes – Any type of tomatoes should work for this recipe! My favorite type of tomato to use are roma tomatoes.
Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
- Author: Seonkyoung Longest
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Yield: 4 1 x
For Marinate Beef
- 1 lb filet mignon or Rib-eye, remove silver skin and cut into 1 -inch cubes
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs fish sauce
- 1/4 tsp dark soy sauce, optional
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
- 1 Tbs cooking oil
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 3 to 4 green onions, cut halves in lengthwise and cut into 2 -inch pieces
For Lime Dipping Sauce
- Combine all ingredients for marinate beef in a large mixing bowl and mix well with your hand. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it marinate for 2 hours in a refrigerator.
- Meanwhile make lime dipping sauce by adding all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat add cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add marinated beef, spread as one layer so they will sear nicely. Cook 1 minute each side, or until nicely seared and cooked until your desire doneness.
- Add butter, garlic, shallot and green onions, stir everything together and cook until vegetables got soften, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with lime dipping sauce. Serve on a bed of tomato slices or salad for your taste.
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 3 H, 45 M
- Serves 4
Ingredients US Metric
- For the marinade
- 18 ounces beef fillet, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced red chile peppers, such as Thai, seeded if desired
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- For the dipping sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- For the pickled onions
- Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped red chile pepper, such as Thai, seeded if desired
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 red onions, cut into matchstick-ish pieces
- To serve
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 10 scallions, sliced diagonally into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 7 ounces (about 2 cups) watercress
- 1 tablespoon Crispy Fried Shallots
In a large bowl, combine the beef with all of the marinade ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate for 3 hours to let the marinade penetrate the beef.
About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the beef from the fridge.
In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper and squeeze the lime juice into the bowl. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, sugar, garlic, chile, and fish sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add the red onions and use your fingers to lightly toss together, taking care not to bruise the onions. Let the onions pickle while you cook the beef.
In a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the scallions and sauté for 1 minute. The scallions should still be green in color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and scrape the scallions into a small bowl.
Wipe the pan clean with paper towels. In the same pan over high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until it reaches 375°F (190°C).
Working in batches to avoid crowding the meat, add some of the beef and a little of its marinade and spread everything out evenly in the pan. Sear the beef for 30 seconds, then turn the pieces over and sear the other side for a further 30 seconds.
Working quickly, carefully lift the pan off the stovetop and toss the beef vigorously. This is how the dish got its name, so feel free to go to town on your shaking! If you do this right you can expect lots of flames and drama. Shake the pan for 30 seconds, over a high heat at all times. Never take your eyes off the meat–don’t allow it to burn.
If working in batches, place the shaken beef on a plate while you do the next batch.
Add the scallions and continue shaking for a further 15 seconds. The beef should be nicely charred on the outside and rare in the middle.
Arrange the watercress on a platter, scatter the pickled onions over the watercress, and arrange the beef on top.
Garnish the dish with the crispy fried shallots and serve with the dipping sauce.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is such a fun and satisfying recipe to make—from beginning to end, I felt like I was at play the whole time. The results really do speak for themselves. Tender, juicy chunks of seared beef bursting with flavor, the sharp dipping sauce, the crunchy sweet and pungent shallots, the quickled red onions (which definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of how delicious they would be—I was eating them straight!) and the crunchy fresh greens. It was a sensory playground.
For the marinade, I used Thai bird chilis, and I kept most of the seeds, 4 Elephants Fish Sauce, and Braggs Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce. The red onion rested while the beef was marinating, so it had over two hours to pickle, and it was amazing when the beef was finished cooking. The sauce did have a great texture with the coarsely ground pepper and salt suspended throughout. The simplicity of the sauce was perfect with the other multi-layered flavors, and the acidity really balanced the oily-sweetness of the fried shallots.
Serves 3 hungry people, 4 if served with rice or some kind of bread.
I did indeed see the "flames and drama" with the shaking of the beef and the addition of the marinade and scallions. My cast-iron pan is heavy and I barely lifted it off of my open flame gas stove as I shook the pan. The flames rose around the edges and licked the air above the pan (which was really gratifying). The beef ended up well seared and still rare in the middle and absolutely delicious!
I actually used some of the shallot oil for searing the beef in this recipe (because why not?) and I'm thinking of using some for breakfast eggs tomorrow!
I loved the end result as did my wife. My son liked the beef part and chose not to try any of the other components of the dish.
I used red jalapeños and didn’t use the seeds. I used Red Boat brand fish sauce and regular tamari. The sauce was lovely and textured. The beef was nicely charred and rare inside. Very tasty!
I used red Thai chile peppers and have learned my lesson about leaving the seeds in. Most of the time it’s okay, but often the seeds in these chiles can make the amount of heat in a dish uncomfortable. I have found that Red Boat Fish Sauce is a quality fish sauce that isn’t too salty. I also use low-sodium Aloha brand shoyu, it has a smoother flavor than others I’ve tried.
This sauce seems so simple but it makes a huge difference when eating the beef. The salt crystals add a pleasant textural element to the beef.
I make pickled onions for a number of dishes and have never thought to add a chile pepper but I’m pretty sure this is going to be my go to recipe from now on, it’s a really nice touch. I used the same red Thai chiles (without the seeds), and, again, the Red Boat fish sauce.
I used my wok for this recipe so it was pretty easy to get the heat I needed to sear the meat. I did do it in batches though, just to make sure I wasn’t steaming the beef instead of searing it.
This fed 4 people easily but we also had other sides as well (the Smashed Cucumbers was a nice addition to this meal) along with a nice big bowl of jasmine rice.
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