This is probably one of my favorite -- if not my favorite -- Vietnamese beef dish. It has such a fresh taste from the fresh vegetables used as well as that lime dip. The beef is so succulent and flavorful... it packs such a punch of flavor. The fact that I used fillet meat for it equates to such tender meat and relatively healthy (for beef standards) food. The extra sauce deglazing the pan and poured over the meat and the veggies, wilting the lettuce just enough to give it that contrast of flavor. Oh I can't tell you how good it is... you have to try it for yourself!
So "shaking beef" is a literal translation of its Vietnamese counterpart. The idea is that you want a really hot wok and cook the beef so it just sears. You shake the wok back and forth so it doesn't burn. Simple.
To start off, this is what you'll need:
2 lb beef (I used fillet, and highly recommend it, but any cut will do)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seeds
3 green onions, sliced
1-2 Thai chili (optional)
1/2 red onion
1 bunch lettuce (watercress is traditionally used, but I prefer lettuce)
1/2 cup rice or white distilled vinegar
1 tbs sugar
To prepare the meat for the marinade, remove silverskin and cut out excess fat. Cut meat into strips...
...like so. Then cut into even bite sized cubes and place into bowl to marinade.
Put into the marinade minced garlic, beef, fish sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame seeds, green onions, and remaining 1/2 tbs sugar. Also add in sliced chili if desired. Let marinade at least 30 minutes. This can be set aside in the fridge for a later day too. No longer than 2-3 days please.
To prepare the vinegar onions, simply slice onions thin and pour over 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 tbs sugar into the mixture and mix well. Let steep in the vinegar for at least 10 minutes.
Prepare your lettuce and rip lettuce into 1" slices. Slice tomato thinly and place over the lettuce. Then add your vinegared onions.
Ensure meat is at room temperature if you had refrigerated it. This means it should have sat out for at least 15-20 minutes. Set a wok or large pan over high heat. Oil up the pan with some vegetable oil or some other high smoke point oil. After oil is shimmering, add in your meat. Do not crowd the pan! This is important to ensure good searing. Cook in batches if necessary. Also, take care to not get too much marinade into the pan because you really want the meat to sear. Don't shake the pan or wok too much as you want the meat to develop that nice crust.
Do as I say and not as you see. I got too much marinade into the wok by accident. My punishment is the lack of a nice crust. But as the meat sears, you can start to shake the pan or wok around to evenly sear the other sides. Once all sides have been nicely seared, pour the meat over the vegetable plate you've had ready. It should only take a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with the remaining marinade. Make sure that marinade cooks through, it'll be a great sauce.
Pour the marinade over the plate and pepper to taste. Enjoy with some steamed rice and lime dipping sauce (will be posted soon!)