Friday, August 3, 2012

Shaking beef with watercress salad (bo luc lac)

I can't believe it's already August! This summer has gone by so quickly before we even had a chance to kickback and unwind. My oldest son is back to school next week and he's going on first grade. I can still remember the day we dropped him off at the daycare for the first time more than three years ago. The feeling still lingers on with me as I reminisce how anxious we were to be separated from our child.  I think I've cried more than he did on that day. And now in a couple more days, he will be in first grade! Oh my, how fast time has flown by, and pretty soon I will have to send him off to college.  Alright, maybe not that soon, but you know what I mean. 
In a few more days, school nights going to be busy and I won't have the luxury to enjoy my free time baking or blogging as much as I desire. Dinners will have to be cut short to something quick and easy to leave more time for school activities and homework. Therefore, I want to introduce this simple, easy and delightful Vietnamese beef salad called bo luc lac or shaking beef. The dish can be eaten as is on its own or with some steamed rice for a more balance and complete meal. The slight bitterness of the watercress and the tanginess of the vinaigrette entwine beautifully with the juicy, tender beef. The name of this dish loosely translated to shaking beef to imply the method of how the beef is cooked. The beef is essentially being tossed and shake back and forth under the intense heat to sear and caramelize the outside, but leave the inside with the ravishing pink, tender and juicy texture.  This dish will always stay on the list of my all time favorites.


1. 1 lbs of rib-eye beef steak (cut into 1 inch cubes)
2. 1 bunch of watercress (washed)
4. 1 tsp of sweet soy sauce, 1 tsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp of regular soy sauce
5. 1/2 tsp mushroom seasoning, 1/2 sugar, garlic powder, blacked pepper, 1 tsp oil
6. 2 cloves of garlic (minced)

In a small prepping bowl, combine beef cubes and all the seasoning ingredients, mix well and set aside to let the meat marinade for at least 1 hour.
While waiting for the meat to soak up the marinade, prepare the bed of green watercress on a serving plate, lay slices of tomato on top and set aside. Also prepare the onion vinaigrette (hanh dam) with the recipe below.
In a medium frying pan on high heat, add 1-2 tsp of oil, minced garlic and toss in the beef. Continuously shaking and tossing the beef back and forth in the pan for a minute or two until the beef is seared outside and turn caramelized. Quickly transfer the beef onto the prepared bed of watercress, drizzle with a 3-4 teaspoons of the onion vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Onion vinaigrette: 

1. 1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
2. 2 tsp of distilled vinegar
3. 10 tsp of water
4. 5 tsp of sugar
5. 1/2 tsp salt
6. 2 tbsp of canola oil
7. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients until all the sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Left over dressing can be stored up to a week refrigerated. 

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