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This amazing Vietnamese Shaking Beef or Bo Luc Lac will have you saying, “Wait, that’s good!” It is tangy, salty, and tender. You can make this with simple ingredients you have at home. These little cubes of beef pair perfectly with a bowl of rice.
What is Bo Luc Lac?
Bò Lúc Lắc directly translates to beef shaking or beef rattles. My father likes to call this one beef dancing. I know, very fancy.
Some of you may notice that this isn’t a traditional recipe for Shaking Beef and that is because it isn’t. This is a recipe that my dad created because we like it better more tangy than sweet. Traditionally, this dish is made with Oyster Sauce and Filet Mignon. However with this dish, we will be using lime juice and Flank Steak.
Bò Lúc Lắc is typically a ceremonial dish or served during important events. However, my brother and I would ask for this so often my dad discovered a way to make this affordable. This is a dish that would be left empty every single time. Let’s get to shaking this beef, shall we?
- Garlic: My dad always says, “the more garlic, the more flavor.” The recipe calls for about 3-4 cloves, but definitely feel free to use 6, 8, or 20 of them. I am not here to judge. 🙂
- Soy Sauce: It is important that you do not put too much of this into the Marinade, otherwise it will become salty. If you are using the low sodium soy sauce, then you may have more wiggle room.
- Lime: This is essential in this dish, however, it can be substituted for lemon. I do find lime to be more tangy while lemon will be more sweet after being cooked.
- Ground Black Pepper: Great for adding some flavor and spice. I highly recommend fresh grounded black pepper.
- MSG: Yes, that is correct. MSG provides an intense umami flavor that really brings this dish to the next level. No this isn’t bad for you, unless you eat it in excess. You can substitute this with regular salt. I don’t recommend it, but you can.
- Flank Steak: This piece of meat is relatively inexpensive as it typically comes in a large quantity. This will have a bit of a chew to it since it is not Sirloin or Filet Mignon, but as long as you cut across the grain it definitely gets the job done.
- Corn Starch: It is important that you add this right before you cook the beef. This will allow the steak to have a little bit of a crisp to it especially since you will be cooking this under high heat and very quickly. Adding this any longer will make your marinade appear murky and will make your beef slimy.
- Romaine Lettuce: I choose Romaine Lettuce since it has a nice crunch to it that pairs well with the beef. I believe in most Vietnamese restaurants they will use Leaf Lettuce.
- Roma Tomato: These types of tomatoes are technically not used for slices, but these are my favorite and when it’s well seasoned it’s awesome.
- Clarified Butter: This is totally optional, but I think it elevates the beef further with its smokey flavor. This pairs extremely well with the cooked marinade and juices of the beef.
- Cooking Oil: I typically use vegetable oil, but feel free to use any neutral oil for this. You are going to need a good amount of it.
- Trim any excess fat on flank steak. You’ll want to have a pretty lean cut of beef. Any excess of fat will make the cooking process very messy.
- Cut Steak into ¾ – 1 inch cubes. Cutting these into cubes will make it easy to eat and not as tough, especially if cut across the grain.
- In a mixing bowl, add beef cubes and marinade. Mix together and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Optionally, you can marinade beef overnight.
- Wash and dry the lettuce and tomato. Use cold water to rinse and dry the lettuce and tomato.
- Break lettuce leaf and place on plate. Keep a whole lettuce leaf intact and break from the root.
- Thinly slice tomatoes and lay on plate. Cut your tomato into 1/2 inch slices. Don’t forget to season them!
- Add clarified butter to middle of plate. This is totally optional, but adds a nice smokey flavor that enriches the dish.
Shake the Beef
- Heat pan on high heat. This should be on as high as you can go. Preferably this would be made outside. Please make sure your cooking area is well ventilated.
- Add oil. Enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. You’ll want to heat it up until it starts to shimmer or barely smoking.
- Mix cornstarch with marinaded beef. While oil is heating, add Cornstarch to your marinaded beef cubes and mix thoroughly. Cornstarch should be mixed in no longer than 5 minutes prior to cooking.
- Add beef cubes. Carefully place your beef cubes into the pan. Let it cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Shake the beef. Shake pan vigorously and flambe the beef. Cook for additional 30 seconds.
- Plate your shaken beef. Once cooked add beef cubes and oil to your plate.
Tips and Tricks
- If you are cooking indoors then make sure you have a well ventilated fan or area, so open your windows. It can easily become smokey and set off your fire alarm. I recommend doing this outside, if possible.
- When adding the cornstarch make sure you add no more than 5 minutes before you start cooking the beef.
- Make sure the heat is high and that you quickly sear the beef.
- Flambe is optional, but definitely super cool to do to impress your friends and family.
- Refrigerator: If you have already cooked the beef then you should be able to let it cool and store it in an airtight container for 3-4 days. If you want to store this before being cooked and marinated, this can be stored up to 5 days.
- Freezer: If cooked, I recommend storing this in a vacuum sealed bag and keep frozen for 2-3 months. Marinated beef should stay frozen no longer than 3 months.
- The best way to reheat this is to pan fry on medium heat. You basically want to overcook it and get a really nice sear. Add some butter to a baguette and add the meat.
Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef)
- Trim any excess fat on flank steak.
- Cut Steak into ¾ – 1 inch cubes.
- In a mixing bowl, add your beef cubes and marinade. Mix together and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Optionally, you can marinade beef overnight.
- Wash and dry the lettuce and tomato.
- Break lettuce leaf and place on plate.
- Thinly slice tomatoes and lay on plate.
- Add clarified butter to middle of plate.
Shake the Beef
- Heat pan on high heat.
- Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Head until shimmering.
- While oil is heating, add Cornstarch to your marinaded beef cubes and mix thoroughly.
- Carefully place your beef cubes into the pan. Let it cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Shake pan vigorously and optionally flambe the beef. Cook for additional 30 seconds.
- Once cooked add beef cubes and oil to your plate.