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Plate of Vietnamese shaking beef and rice.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bò Lúc Lắc)

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  • Author: Taming of the Spoon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese


This classic Vietnamese dish of seared beef in a tangy, slightly sweet sauce can be done in less than 30 minutes. It’s homey and upscale at the same time.


  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, patted dry, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Steamed rice and/or watercress for serving


  1. Prep beef. Place the beef in a medium bowl and sprinkle the beef with a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
  2. Prep sauce. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Set aside.
  3. Cook beef. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Swirl the oil to coat the pan and then add the beef in a single layer. Sear the beef and let cook undisturbed for 1 1/2 minutes. Flip the beef and cook undisturbed for 1 1/2 minutes more. Transfer beef to a bowl or plate. Set aside.
  4. Cook sauce. Return the skillet to the stove and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the lime juice mixture and any beef juices from the bowl (but not the meat). Cook sauce over medium-high heat until sauce begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Combine. Add the beef and onions to the skillet. Continue cooking, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the sauce coats the beef and the onions have softened.
  6. Serve. Serve beef with steamed rice drizzled with pan sauce. If desired, toss watercress with lime juice and salt and serve along side.


  • You can reduce the sugar to 1 tablespoon if you’re watching your sugar intake. The flavor is slightly different but still very good.
  • Recipe adapted from Milk Street.
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