Soy Glazed “Shaking Beef” Salad with Pickled Onions

Bò Lúc-Lắc


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

Often mistaken for a casual affair since it is so quick and easy to prepare, this stir-fry is really an elegant salad. Tender cubes of oyster sauce and garlic marinated beef gain smoky essences in a fiery hot sautœ pan. Then, they’re paired with spiritedly dressed salad and sharp pickled onions. It feels like a “night on the town” in a single dish.

The French introduced the method of sautœing, “shaking the beef,” to Vietnam. The Chinese brought oyster sauce and soy sauce. The Vietnamese practice of building layers of flavor by juxtaposing a hot, savory meat with a cool salad makes it their own. Although not traditional, I really like this prepared with pork, chicken, or even fish like salmon. They all hold up well to the intense sauce.


  • 1 lb. (454 g.) Beef filet mignon, strip loin or other tender cut, ¾-inch (2 cm.) cubes
  • 2 tsp. Oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp. Fish sauce (nước mắm)
  • 2 tsp. Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 8 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup Sliced red onions, inch (0.3 cm.) thick, about to 2-inch (3.8 to 5 cm.) pieces
  • 2 tbsp. Distilled (white) vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • ½ tsp. Granuated sugar
  • pinch Kosher salt
  • 2 bunch Watercress, picked into sprigs or ½ head green leaf lettuce. Torn into bite size pieces.
  • 1 tsp. Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Vietnamese caramel sauce or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vietnamese chili sauce or store bought
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable oil


  1. Marinate the Beef: Toss beef with oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, black pepper and garlic. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  2. Pickle the Onions: In a small bowl, combine the onions, vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Toss to dissolve the sugar and salt; marinate 10 to 30 minutes.
  3. Getting Ready to Cook: Arrange watercress around inside perimeter of plate. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, caramel, and chili sauce. Divide mixture into two small bowls.
  4. Cook the Beef: To achieve the proper sear, you will need to cook the meat in two batches or two pans. Heat a large sauté pan (non-stick works well for this recipe) or wok over high heat; add 1 tbsp. oil. Heat 15 seconds until smoke begins to rise from pan. Add half of the beef in an even layer, but do not shake yet! After pan’s heat recovers (about 15 seconds) shake pan to redistribute beef helping it with a spatula. Cook, shaking pan and stirring occasionally, until somewhat browned, yet still pink inside. Slowly add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring rapidly, until sauce coats the beef, about 5 seconds. Transfer beef to center of serving plate; repeat with remaining beef and sauce. (if using the same pan, clean after cooking first batch) Sprinkle onions on top of beef.