Today’s shaking beef recipe is an easy guide to one of the most popular menu items at Vietnamese restaurants. It’s a delicious dish that’s loaded with juicy, well-marinated, medium-rare steak served on a bed of fresh lettuce, perfect for any occasion.
What Is Shaking Beef?
Shaking beef is a savory-sweet Vietnamese stir-fry beef dish, also known as “bo luc lac” in Vietnamese. It consists of marinated cubed beef steak sautéed quickly in melted butter with onion and garlic.
Shaking beef isn’t commonly served in weekday meals in Vietnam. It’s more of a delicacy to treat guests on special family occasions.
This dish gets its name from the constant shaking of the wok or pan while browning the beef on high heat. It’s a favorite dish of many Vietnamese people as you can get both the succulent, well-seasoned steak, and the crunchy, fresh lettuce in every bite.
The special “shaking” technique produces evenly browned steak while keeping it juicy on the inside. It’s also a brilliant way to avoid leaving burnt bits on the wok/frying pan after cooking (deglazing a frying wok of shaking beef is just a cakewalk!)
Today’s shaking beef is served Vietnamese-style as it’s made into a steak salad on a bed of Carol lettuce. Sometimes, it’s also served alongside a hot bowl of white rice with an optional dipping sauce on the side.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
This shaking beef is a protein-rich and low-carb dish. Each serving provides 461 calories, 15 grams of carbs, and 46 grams of protein (the beef accounts for nearly 44 grams).
Beef tenderloin, the star of today’s recipe, is the most tender cut of beef. It’s a lean cut with just 6.5 grams of fats per 4-oz serving (consisting of only 2.2 grams of saturated fats).
A 4-oz serving of beef tenderloin provides 38% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B3 (Niacin), an organic compound that helps convert food to energy in your body and aids your digestive system.
Although quite pricey, it’s a perfect choice for high-heat grilling and provides a great source of low-fat protein that may help maintain lean muscle mass.
In general, this shaking beef is a healthy choice for family meals and is also kid-friendly. You can best serve this as a main meal during either lunch or dinner.
What Type of Beef Is the Best for This Recipe
To ensure juiciness and tenderness, we chose beef tenderloin for today’s recipe. That being said, you can use any steak cut that’s convenient for your taste and budget.
Of course, an expensive and good-quality steak cut like filet mignon, rib eye, or sirloin always works best for any beef dish (which is the go-to choice of high-end restaurants’ chefs). But when making a home-cooked dish, less expensive ones such as flank steak or sirloin strip can still bring out quite a great result, only chewier.
No matter what type of beef cut is chosen, the number one rule of thumb when making shaking beef is not overcooking it. Medium rare is the best — or at least medium or medium-well, just not well-done.
Browning beef is quick work. We performed it twice in this recipe — once with olive oil and yellow onion for 3 minutes, the other with melted butter and scallions for only 30 seconds.
The cooking time may vary according to the type of skillet used and its ability to take on the heat, but in general, we’d suggest no more than 5 minutes of browning to prevent a well-done, or worse, overcooked steak.
This shaking beef also benefits from the marinade of pepper, garlic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, sriracha, and cornstarch. A short 10-minute marinating process is enough to tenderize the beef and lend it more flavor, thus producing a juicier and tastier steak.
Have all the ingredients prepped and ready to combine before cooking
Stir-frying is always a nonstop process — and it’s more strict for shaking beef. Be sure that all of the ingredients are readily prepared and placed somewhere close by before you start.
Move the frying pan constantly
Once you’ve started, it’s a nonstop process of shaking the pan. A simple pause midway can easily lead to burnt steak as it’s working on intense heat. Yes, it’s tough to work with, so just try your best to maintain the movement and keep stirring to avoid burning and unevenly cooking the steak.
It takes effort with a few minutes of shaking, but the result will be beyond rewarding.
Don’t overcrowd the frying pan
We all know an overcrowded frying pan means uneven cooking. If you want to double the recipe to make a big meal, brown the beef in batches.
If properly stored, the leftover shaking beef can last 2-3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer. Remember to let it cool down to room temp before transferring to airtight containers or freezer-friendly Ziploc bags.
For the frozen portions, thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating the next day.
You can reheat the leftover shaking beef covered in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat for 2 minutes. Be careful not to cook the beef further to well-done — you just need to warm it through and wake the flavors up.
What to Serve With
There are many ways to enjoy shaking beef. You can either serve it as a steak salad on a bed of fresh greens topped with cherry tomatoes and red onions like this recipe or with a savory dipping sauce and a bowl of steamed rice or noodles on the side.
For an easy, tasty, and hearty meal, we recommend the following side dishes to pair it with:
Air fryer potato wedges: A tasty treat made quickly in the air fryer to incorporate a great source of carbs and create balanced flavors for our meal. This finger food takes just 20 minutes of cooking. The ketchup that goes along with it can also be used for shaking beef. Convenient in two ways!
Orange pineapple juice: This 5-ingredient orange pineapple juice is a perfect choice to add robust and fruity flavors to round off today’s meal with shaking beef as the main. It’s overflowing with nutrients and is family-friendly and kid-friendly as well.
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Today's shaking beef recipe is an easy guide to one of the most popular menu items at Vietnamese restaurants. It's a delicious dish that's loaded with juicy, well-marinated, medium-rare steak served on a bed of fresh lettuce, perfect for any occasion.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
Such an exciting dish. Gonna try it for dinner this weekend.