Shaking Beef!


Vietnamese cooking genius, Charles Phan is not messing around with this one. I’ve been dying to get my hands on his cookbook, Vietnamese Home Cooking but haven’t got it just yet, so when I found this recipe in Food and WineI wasted no time before trying it out.


Omg. Just…omg. This beef stir fry is the reason why I adore Vietnamese food. Simple, fresh, no muss, no fuss and just has really, really good flavor. The barely-cooked minced garlic, scallions and red onion add so much unexpected “umph” to the beef. And if a nice little Jewish girl like me can hit this one out of the park (at least I was told it was that good) then I know anyone can successfully cook this.

Last thing: in case you’re wondering, it’s calling “shaking” beef because you  shake your pan to incorporate all of the delicious sauce and butter. I, however, was using a rather large wok so I wasn’t able to shake it like the directions said!



  • 1 pound filet mignon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine (optional)
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Lime, for serving


  1. In a bowl, toss the meat with 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar with the soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar and rice wine, if using.
  3. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of oil and heat until smoking. Add the meat and cook over high heat undisturbed for 1 minute, until browned. Turn the meat and cook for 1 minute longer. Tilt the skillet and spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Scatter the scallions, onion and garlic over the meat and cook for 30 seconds. Stir the soy mixture and add it to the pan, shaking to coat the meat; bring to a boil. Add the butter and shake the pan until melted.
  4. Line a platter with watercress and pour the shaking beef and vegetables on top. Serve with lime wedges and little fresh squeezed lime juice.

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