Friday, July 9, 2010

Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese shaking beef)

Every now and again (namely after a work conference laden with rich company-paid meals and constant snacking) one feels like a salad. Alas, in the middle of winter, the green grocers tend to ignore the great herbs that makes a great Thai larb, or even most Vietnamese salad.

That said, on the hunt for a light dinner that wouldn't hurt the waistline, i came across recipes for Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac or shaking beef. Most of the recipes seemed to offer either a dressing or a dipping sauce; for me, i combined the two. Apparently the translated name, shaking beef, refers to the shaking of the wok as you sear all sides of the meat. So don't go expecting any plate theatrics here kiddos.

For a little extra indulgence i went and purchased King Island eye fillets; they were definitely worth it! For meat that is only briefly cooked you really do need to buy a tender cut of meat. These morsels just melted in your mouth as you devoured the plate of them.

Ingredients (Serves 2 as main)

  • 350gm good quality thick beef steak
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 large handfuls watercress or baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • Good squeeze of lime juice
  • 1 tbsp dark soy
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil


Cut the beef into 1 inch chunks
In a bowl, combine the soy, garlic, oyster sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce and 1/2 the sugar.

Toss the beef through this sauce and let sit for 1-2 hours to marinade.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, line and remaining sugar with a pinch of salt and stir occasionally until all dissolved.
Thinly slice the onions and place them in a bowl.
Spoon 1/2 the vinegar mixture over the onions and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

Thinly slice the tomato and arrange with spinach on serving plates.

Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat until smoking.
Add 1/2 the beef and let sear on 1 side for 2 minutes.

Shake the wok to mix the beef and sear on all other sides until medium rare (maybe another 2-3 minutes)

Remove from wok and repeat with remaining beef.
Arrange the onion ontop of the tomato and spinach, followed by the beef.
Grind a little black pepper over the top following by a bit more of the vinegar dressing

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