This is an outstanding dish! I learn about more and more Vietnamese cuisine that appeals to me, to the degree that I’d put it at the same high level as Indonesian, Thai and Japanese cuisine—just outstanding!
There are many recipes of shaking beef online, but this one is based on the New York Times recipe.
One thing to note about making this is the wok or frypan in which you cook it. The meat getting a really good sear is critical to the dish’s flavor. The meat will definitely brown best in a flat-bottomed vessel, such as a frypan. That said, the meat sizzles and splashes enough to make a complete mess of your cooking surface and countertop. A traditional wok, though it has high sides to catch a lot of the grease splatter, doesn’t provide enough surface area for the meat to brown. The fix? A flat-bottom wok, which I wish I had.
For a serving base, just lay out some flat leaf veggies (lettuce, spinach, etc) or a bed of watercress. I think cilantro would overpower the meat, though, so maybe avoid that. I also saw one recipe that called for a layer of Roma tomatoes for serving—I did try that, to very good effect.
What you’ll need:
- 1.5 – 2 pounds beef tenderloin cut into 1-inch cubes. I disagree with using tenderloin. Besides the high cost, it’s too lean. Boneless ribeye steak or chuck-eye steak would work very well.
- 2T chopped garlic
- 2T sugar, divided
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 5T tablespoons neutral oil, divided
- 0.25 cups rice-wine vinegar
- 0.25 cups rice wine or white wine
- 3T soy sauce
- 1T fish sauce
- 1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
- 3 scallions, trimmed and cut in 1-inch pieces
- 2T butter
- 2 bunches watercress, washed and dried, or 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried and separated into leaves
- 3 Roma tomatoes, sliced (optional)
- 2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)
What to do:
Marinate the meat by mixing in the garlic, 1T sugar, 0.25t ground pepper and 1T oil for a minimum of 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before you’re going to cook it.
While the meat is marinating, in a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, 1T sugar, rice wine, soy sauce and fish sauce. Refrigerate until you need it.
When you’re ready to cook and serve, divide the meat into 2 portions, along with the sliced onions and scallions. Also divide the sauce that you made into two equal portions. If you haven’t just figured it out, you’ll be making the meat in two batches.
Note that this next step will make a huge mess of your cooktop. Also make sure to turn on your kitchen exhaust fan. Put a wok or a large skillet over high heat, and add about 2T oil. Remember, you’re looking for a good sear when cooking the meat. When the oil smokes, add the meat in a single layer. Let it sit until a brown crust forms, and turn to brown the other side. Browning should take less than 5 minutes.
Add half the onion and half the scallions, and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add about half the vinegar mixture, and shake pan to release the beef, stirring if necessary. Add half the butter, and shake pan until butter melts. Remove meat, and repeat.
Serve hot over the vegetable bed you laid out.