Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac) is an easy and delicious one-pan meal that is excellent for everyday meals as well as special occasions. This dish features tender and flavorful beef plated on a bed of green cress and fresh tomatoes.
In Vietnamese, “bo” means beef and “luc lac” means shaking. The funny name of this dish comes from the way it is cooked. The cook adds beef to a hot pan and then shakes the pan constantly to cook/sear and move the meat around. I think this Southern Vietnamese dish is a popular menu item in a lot of restaurants in the U.S. Vietnamese cooks in the U.S. often plate it on a bed of watercress and tomato salad and serve with rice. I think it even goes great with fries and bread.
How to cook Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
We have been adding this dish to our meal rotation because it is tasty and doesn’t require a lot of efforts to make. I simply love a one-pan meal that is freshly prepared and can be put on the table in 30 minutes.
The first ingredient is of course beef. Vietnamese cooks generally agree that the higher quality cut of meat, the more delicious the dish will be. Many like to use tender cut like filet mignon. I like to use ribeye after trimming off excess fat because it’s very flavorful. So just pick a good quality cut of beef that you like.
I often use baby cress to make the bed of salad under the beef. It is much more tender than watercress. If you can’t find baby cress or watercress, you can use baby arugula although it is more peppery than cress.
Other ingredients are just aromatics and common Vietnamese condiments that you can easily find at both Asian and Western grocery stores.
Cooking Vietnamese Shaking Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
Most home kitchens don’t have high-power stove like those at restaurants. Therefore it is harder to make this dish by using a wok in which we can shake the beef around since a traditional wok works best on a powerful gas stove. So when you make this dish at home, your best bet is to use a heavy-bottomed pan like a cast iron pan to get a good sear and finish cooking quickly although these pans would be too heavy to shake…
You need to heat your cast iron pan until it is very hot and then start to cook. From that point, it takes less than five minutes to finish the dish. Anything longer than that, you will overcook the meat. Also, if the pan is not hot enough, we can’t get a nice sear, and we would be steaming the beef instead, and when we add the sauce, the dish will become soupy which is a disaster.
Another thing to keep in mind is to have all ingredients ready before you start to cook because everything comes together in just a few minutes on the stove.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.