There are some dishes that I will always connect with my childhood. Vietnamese Shaking Beef is one of those dishes.
Until recently, I had never made it before. Vietnamese shaking beef (or bò lúc lắc as I have always called it) was a dish only my father made. My mother, who did the large majority of the cooking when I was growing up, had a huge repertoire of dishes in her cooking arsenal. My father (at least, the way I remember it) had this one. If my mother was working late and my father had been assigned dinner duty, I knew it would be shaking beef. He cooked with a certain flair, in a certain pan, and he smiled in a certain way when he said “lúc lắc”.
Ingredients for bò lúc lắc
My father’s version of this dish was very basic, using mostly oyster sauce in the pan sauce. Though I would never say no to my father making me his bò lúc lắc, I have to admit I prefer this version with its more multi-layered flavors. The combination of soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce hits all the sweet-sour-tangy notes.
Though some recipes call for a filet mignon cut of beef, I really don’t think that is necessary for the average weeknight dinner. Quality cuts like sirloin steak or tri-tip are more budget-friendly and work well in this recipe.
What to serve with Vietnamese shaking beef
There are many ways to serve shaking beef but my favorite is with hot cooked rice which is how I always ate it growing up. You can eat it more like a steak salad if you serve it on a bed of watercress. Or you can get fancy and toss in a handful of microgreens.
Some people also like to make a sauce (of sorts) with salt, pepper, and lime juice to dip the pieces of meat into. The flavor can be refreshing or bracing depending on your tastes. I don’t always make the dipping sauce but do on occasion when the mood strikes.
Now, I just have to decide whether to make this for my father next time I have my parents over for dinner.