Vietnamese shaking beef: moist, tender filet mignon stir-fried with onion, garlic and Vietnamese seasoning in this classic dish.
Elaine was my roommate sophomore and junior year in college, a spunky, Houston-born Vietnamese girl who loved music, pool and trying new things. How she put up with me for 2 years is beyond me. But she is responsible for introducing me to many new things, including Vietnamese food. When we weren’t playing pool at Georgetown Billiards, we were looking for excuses to avoid the cafeteria. And so she introduced me to the cuisine her mom made at home.
So it was that I first tried shaking beef at a little Vietnamese place in Georgetown. And it was delicious. Beef was a delicacy for a college kid on a budget so this was extra special. Salty, a little sweet, and loaded with flavor, this has become for me the quintessential Vietnamese dish. Fast forward more years than I’d like to admit, and I’ve now recreated the dish at home. Vietnamese flavors are bold, but not spicy, so this is a dish even my kids loved. My husband and I dot ours with sriracha to give it some kick. Serve it over rice with some watercress for an unforgettable meal.
- 1½ pounds filet mignon, fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 tsp. sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. canola oil
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. mirin
- 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small bunch of watercress
- Steamed jasmine rice
- In a bowl, toss the beef with 1 teaspoon of the sugar, the salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Let marinade at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
- In a measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, both soy sauces, mirin, fish sauce ad remaining 2 teaspoons sugar until the sugar dissolves, Set aside.
- Heat a wok over high heat until hot and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half the meat and sear for 3 minutes, Flip and cook 1 minute. Add half the red onion and scallions and cook for about 20 seconds. Add half of the soy sauce mixture and shake the pan to coat the beef and onions. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and half the garlic and shake the pan to coat the meat for about 20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Serve with watercress, white rice, and a little sriracha, of desired.