As a Vietnamese food lover, I have always want to create the dishes we like at home, such as Bo Luc Lac aka The Shaking Beef. Frankly, it’s more of W’s love. Yes, love. W orders Bo Luc Lac every time we eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. Gradually, it has become a favorite of mine as well.
I recently discovered Vietworld Kitchen, a cooking and eating adventure with an emphasis on Vietnamese cuisine, where I turn to it for excellent recipe inspirations.
Not completely lost in translation, “Bo” means cow or beef and the “luc lac” is merely a description for the back and forth “shaking” of the skillet or wok as the cubes of beef is being quickly seared.
Bo Luc Lac could be prepared with the different cuts of beef. Many Vietnamese restaurants in America generally prepare this dish with tender, expensive filet Mignon, but it’s rather rare to find such a splendid preparation in Vietnam. The meat will likely be tough and have a good chew to put your teeth to work. For home cooking, you could use inexpensive cut like tri-tip or sirloin. As for me, this time I used New York cut (which I bought a pack of 4 from Costco the other night for steaks and still had 2 pieces left).
Being a widely popular Vietnamese dish, it has many variations on how it’s served. Some restaurants present it like a steak salad served on a bed of watercress, cucumbers and tomatoes while others may serve it with sauteed onions, lettuce, and rice (white or tomato paste rice), just the way I like to prepare mine.
Each bite of the shaking beef is tender, juicy and peppery. Putting the hot juicy beef over the top of lettuce with some tangy vinegar dressing blend together perfectly like a citrus sauce to drizzle over rice. This is a pretty easy dish to whip up, and fantastic to make for a dinner. And I am adding it to my Vietnamese home cook’s repertoire.
Bo Luc Lac (The Shaking Beef)
adapted from Vietworld Kitchen’s
2 lb New York (or tri-tip, sirloin) steak
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp 1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp of olive oil
1 bunch of red leaves lettuce
1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
3 to 5 cracks black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water
Trim excess fat from the steaks and then cut each into 3/4-inch cubes.
In a bowl, combine the pepper, sugar, garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. Add the beef and toss well to coat. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
For the dressing, put the purple onion in a mesh strainer and rinse under water for about 10 seconds to reduce some of the harshness. In large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the onion and mix. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and spread it out in one layer. Cook in batches, if necessary. Let the beef sear for about 1 minute, before shaking the wok or skillet to sear another side. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and shake again. Cook the beef this way for about 4 minutes total, until nicely browned and medium rare.
In between shakes, plate the lettuce and pour the dressing on top. When the beef is done, pile the beef on top of the lettuce and serve immediately with lots of rice.