Bo Luc Lac Shaking Beef Recipe

15 Jul

I had a craving for the super simple yet flavor-packed Bo Luc Lac, or Shaking Beef. It’s also one of my favorite dishes to say. I know I’ve made it several times but apparently never blogged the recipe. My sister in law makes a really great version of this simple main dish adding mushroom sauce in addition to the typical oyster sauce. Traditionally, the seared beef cubes are served atop crisp, raw watercress and tomato slices. I had arugula and cherry tomatoes left over from and Independence Day fresh corn salad and decided to use those. The arugula has the same peppery bite as watercress, and it easier to eat!  I’ve seen many recipes call for tossing the greens in a vinaigrette, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the muoi tieu chanh (lime, salt, and pepper dipping sauce).

Ideally, you want to marinade the beef overnight to achieve maximum flavor, but 30-60 minutes will do in a pinch. You want tender beef – steer clear of the time saving beef cubes that are usually stew meat. You’ll tire of chewing before getting full.

Prepare in the order below and serve with rice and one or two other small dishes to round out the meal. Now if this isn’t a picture of summer, I don’t know what is!

Dinner table set with Shaking Beef, bowls of rice, and lime dipping sauce.

Bo Luc Lac Shaking Beef Recipe

Marinating beef with a plate full of arugula and tomatoes.

Beef Marinade

  • Tender beef (sirloin, NY Strip, tenderloin, etc) – cut in 1″ cubes
  • 2-3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs oyster sauce
  • 1 tbs mushroom vegetarian sauce
  • 1-2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs Maggi seasoning or dark/thick soy sauce
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced

Mix all of the ingredients except the cubed meat in a Ziploc bag. Taste the mixture before adding the raw meat so you can add more sugar or fish sauce to your liking. Toss in the cubed meat and let marinate overnight, ideally. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 1/2 red onion, shaved or finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbl water

Combine the salt, sugar, and water to dissolve. Then add rice vinegar, mix well. Add thinly sliced or shaved onions and put in the refrigerator to pickle while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Muoi Tieu Chanh – Lime, Salt and Pepper dipping sauce

  • Juice of two limes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Thai chili, finely minced


Now you’re ready to put it all together. Wash a bunch of arugula or watercress, slice the tomatoes and arrange on a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (grapeseed or other neutral variety) in a wok. Place the meat in a single layer in the pan and let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. It’s important you don’t dump all of the sauce in the pan or you won’t get a good sear. Now comes the “Shaking Beef” part – shake the meat around in the pan and toss to cook for another couple of minutes. The meat can still be red or pink in the center depending on your tastes. Don’t overcook it. You may need to do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the meat and dash your hopes of a good sear.

Once all of the meat is cooked through, transfer to the greens and tomato plate and top with the pickled onions, and you’re ready to eat!

Vietnamese Shaking Beef Bo Luc Lac with watercress, tomatoes, and pickled onions

Dip the meat in the lime dipping sauce and enjoy with a steaming bowl of rice.


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