If you love beef, you'll looove this Bo Luc Lac (Vietnamese Shaking Beef) recipe. Chunks of beef tenderloin, browned and coated with a sweet, salty, tangy and buttery glaze, complemented with a lime and pepper dipping sauce.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bò Lúc Lắc) is my favorite Asian beef dish. I was digging into my mind, trying to think of a dish that would dethrone Bo Luc Lac for the top spot and I honestly couldn’t come up with one. Possibly Beef Pho, but that's more of a noodle dish as opposed to a beef dish. The problem is that there aren't many restaurants that make Bo Luc Lac well. Most don't do this beef dish justice. Fortunately, it's easy to make Vietnamese Shaking Beef at home and it turns out great every time.
Which Cut of Beef Works Best for Bo Luc Lac?
Beef tenderloin is the ideal cut for this Shaking Beef recipe. Using tenderloin makes it nearly foolproof. You want to shoot for medium rare to medium, but if you go over, it'll still be tender, and most importantly, delicious!
Tenderloin can be very pricey but another good cut for this dish is sirloin or ribeye. I prefer ribeye over sirloin for its tenderness. If you do go with ribeye, since it's more fatty, use paper towels to soak up most of the fat in the wok after browning.
Tips for Making the Best Vietnamese Shaking Beef
The key to this Bo Luc Lac recipe is the quick sear on high heat. Browning meat builds flavors that you cannot create any other way. A super hot wok and a bit of oil does wonders to beef.
If you don't have a wok, a cast iron skillet works very well for this dish. Be sure you place the cubed beef in a single layer in the wok or skillet. Then leave it alone until it develops a crust. Don't flip it until it has a nicely browned surface. You'll know it's ready when it releases from the pan easily. You can (or should) shake the wok at this point. Hey, after all, we're making Vietnamese Shaking Beef, right? Flip each piece over and brown the other side.
While you're browning the beef, be careful not to overcrowd the skillet. Work in batches if necessary. It's crucial to obtaining the sear we're looking for.
Another important step is coating the meat in sauce and allowing the sauce to cook and glaze each piece. The sauce will thicken as it caramelizes, and in a hot wok, it happens fast! Once it gets there, your nose will tell you it's done!
- 1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, sliced (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
DIPPING SAUCE (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Cut the tenderloin into 1-1.5 inch cubes. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Allow it to rest while you prepare the sauce.
- In a small bowl, mix all the SAUCE ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- In a condiment dish, combine the DIPPING SAUCE ingredients and set aside.
- Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When the wok gets smoky, coat the wok in oil.
- Add sliced onion and stir fry until it's caramelized. Remove from the wok and set aside.
- Turn the heat to high and add a bit more oil. Add half of the beef and cook untouched until the meat is nicely browned and releases from the pan easily. Shake or flip each piece over and brown the other side.
- Remove the beef and set aside. Repeat with the other half of the batch.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add garlic, caramelized onions and the browned beef and toss together.
- Add the sauce and turn the heat back to high. Give it a good toss to coat the meat, then leave it alone. Allow it to cook until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken.
- Shake the wok to release the tenderloin, give it another toss and allow the sauce to reduce into a glaze.
- Turn off the heat and add butter. Shake the wok again to release the beef and give it another toss to coat the meat in butter. Serve with dipping sauce.