Let’s shake up your night with our Bo Luc Lac!! Yes, it’s in the name. This popular Vietnamese shaking beef is a beloved stir fry dish that comes sizzling hot to the table.
Bo Luc Lac could be your salad appetizer over a bed of lettuce or watercress with fresh tomatoes and cucumber, or it can be a complete meal with their favorite red tomato rice and fried eggs.
You won’t believe the taste until you try it. Loaded with sweet, savory and umami flavors, the tender beef steak bites melt in your mouth. It’s rich… it’s fresh and so, so satisfying. Learn how to shake that beef and make this delicious Vietnamese staple tonight…
We have some cracking Vietnamese flavors here on GypsyPlate. We sort of got hooked on to this fresh take on Asian food after trying Bun Cha, their caramelized and absolutely divine pork meatballs served with vermicelli and fresh herbs.
Same with their Goi Ga Bap Cai, which is a simple chicken salad that is so crunchy and so fresh.
Vietnamese cuisine is a great combination of lovely Asian umami flavors, accentuated with the freshness of veggies and herbs.
When looking for some beef stir fry ideas, we came across another of their classic dishes, Bo Luc Lac… The name sounded intriguing, and the photos looked so inviting. We had to get it going in our kitchen.
What is Bò Lúc Lắc?
Bo Luc Lac, or Shaking Beef, is a popular Vietnamese stir fry, “bo” meaning beef, and “luc lac” meaning shaken or shake.
The name refers to the process of shaking the pan to evenly brown the meat on all sides, while keeping it juicy on the inside.
Though now a days it’s commonly found in restaurants all over Vietnam, it started as a luxury and celebratory meal for the upper classes when beef was expensive, until French colonization in the 19th century.
The wok-seared beef is marinated in a soy-based sauce, then quickly sautéed with garlic, onion (and sometimes with bell peppers), and butter.
Bo Luc Lac is often served on a bed of lettuce or watercress, along with tomato and cucumber. Some people also make a lime based dipping sauce. You can have it on its own as an appetizer, or with their favorite tomato red rice for a complete meal.
Very often, it comes sizzling on a hot plate with perfectly fried eggs, too.
What Beef Cut to Use for Vietnamese Shaking Beef?
Since this is a quick sear in the pan, you would want something tender that cooks fast. You can use any type of tender beef cut to make shaking beef.
Expensive beef fillets such as rib-eye and filet minion will be tender, juicy and delicious, but even less expensive cuts like sirloin, flank steak or tri-tip will also make great Bo Luc Lac.
Ingredients for Bò Lúc Lắc
- Beef – We are using sirloin today, and have tried this with ribeye in the past.
- Garlic – A MUST aromatic for this dish.
- Veggies – Onion, bell peppers (we used tri colors to make it a little colorful), and scallions.
- Sauces – Soy sauce, dark soy sauce (optional, though it adds lot of flavor and dark color to the stir fry), oyster sauce, fish sauce (a must for any Vietnamese dish)
- Brown sugar – Sugar balance out the salty flavors, and adds a sweet component to the marinade.
- Black Pepper
- Oil – For stir fry.
- Butter – Butter makes this stir fry buttery and helps it caramelize everything to perfection.
- For the salad – Sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, arugula (if you find fresh watercress, that’s a perfect salad bed for this recipe)
How to Make Bò Lúc Lắc
1. Make the marinade sauce
In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, chopped garlic, sugar and black pepper. Stir to combine. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of marinade sauce for the stir fry.
2. Marinade the beef cubes
In a large bowl, add the beef cubes and marinade sauce. Stir well. Marinate the meat for 30-60 minutes at room temperature.
For even more flavor, you can marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. In that case, bring it to room temperature before stir frying, for even flash cooking.
3. Sear the beef
Heat 2 Tbsp oil over high heat in a large wok until it begins to smoke. Add the beef cubes and sear on all sides by shaking the pan until the beef is medium rare. It should take no more than 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
4. Cook the vegetables
In the same wok, add butter. Once melted, add in onion and bell peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, or to your desired doneness.
5. Finish the dish
Add seared beef and 1 tablespoon of marinade sauce. Cook and keep stirring for minute or two. Do not overcook the meat. Sprinkle green parts of scallions over Bo Luc Lac.
How to Serve Shaking Beef
This beef stir fry can be served in a few different ways. Some like it as salad, and some make a whole meal out of this stir fry.
- You can serve Bo Luc Lac on a bed of arugula or watercress along with tomatoes, cucumbers and tomato red rice. See note in the recipe card for how to make Vietnamese tomato rice. It’s quick and perfectly compliments this shaking beef.
- Think of an Asian take on steak and eggs. Many times, it comes with a side of fried eggs and rice. So delicious.
- Some people like to wrap the meat in Asian lettuce as wraps and dip it in a simple lime dipping mixture made with just lime juice, black pepper and salt.
Tips for Making the Best Bò Lúc Lắc
1. Marinate the beef for a minimum of 1 hour. For the best flavors, it is important that you marinate the beef for at least an hour, so that the marinade has time to penetrate the beef. You can marinate it overnight if you have the time for the best concentrated and bold Asian flavors.
2. Prep all the ingredients before stir frying. Stir-frying is a quick process, so make sure all ingredients are handy and ready to go. This prevents over cooking and burning while stir frying.
3. Use a hot pan or wok. Before you add the beef, make sure the pan is hot and the oil is sizzling. It will ensure a quick brown sear on the edges without overcooking the beef, resulting in juicy and tender meat.
4. Do not overcrowd the pan. Choose the right size wok or skillet. If the beef is overcrowded, it will steam rather than sear. If you need to double the recipe or have a smaller wok, cook in multiple batches.
5. Keep Stirring. Keep stirring the food to avoid burning and uneven cooking. That’s how this Bo Luc Lac happens.
Leftovers and Storing Instructions
This Bo Luc Lac recipe is best served immediately. You can store any leftover shaking beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or up to 3 months in the freezer. Simply thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and microwave it to heat it up.
So, another cracking Vietnamese dish coming to your from the streets of Saigon. Try this popular, yet very simple, stir fry for a quick easy weeknight meal. Or, impress your guests with new flavors. Teach them new ways to have a regular beef stir fry, with fresh new ideas.
Make a shaking stir fry tonight with your favorite cut of beef and enjoy it with your friends and family.
Bo Luc Lac, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1.5 lbs sirloin steak, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2Tbsp butter
- 3-4 scallions (green parts only), for garnish
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp dark sauce (optional)
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Cucumber, sliced
- Arugula or watercress
- In a small bowl, combine all the marinade sauce ingredients.
- In a large bowl, add beef chunks along with garlic and marinade sauce. (Reserve 1 Tbsp marinade sauce for later) Stir to combine and marinate for 30-60 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a large wok. Add the beef cubes and sear on all sides by shaking beef until medium rare. No more than 2-3 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same wok, add butter. Once melted, add in onion and bell peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, or to your desired doneness.
- Add seared beef and remaining 1 tablespoon of marinade sauce. Cook and keep stirring for a minute or two. Do not overcook the meat. Sprinkle green parts of scallions over Bo Luc Lac.
- Serve Bo Luc Lac on a bed of arugula or watercress along with tomatoes, cucumbers and tomato red rice (see note)
For Tomato Rice:
- Cook about 2 cups preferred rice according to the package instructions. You can use leftover rice for this recipe too.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp garlic and sauté for 20 seconds until fragrant. Add in 2 Tbsp tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add rice and toss it with garlic and tomato paste mixture. Add few splashes of fish sauce and taste and adjust the saltiness according to your taste.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 405Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 115mgSodium 807mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 1gSugar 6gProtein 33g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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