Shaking Beef

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Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

This recipe is from Charles Phan’s new cookbook  which appeared on many “best of 2012” lists.  It’s also the signature dish at his restaurant Slanted Door in San Francisco where I had one of my favorite dinners ever.

Adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan

  • 2 lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1.5” cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Canola oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 red pepper cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 Tb minced garlic
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 bunch watercress

For the stir-fry sauce

  • 2 Tb rice vinegar
  • 1 Tb sugar
  • 2 Tb mirin
  • 1 Tb soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp fish sauce

For the Salt and Pepper Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice

2 hours, 10 minutes before you want to eat – Combine 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp sugar and 1 Tb canola oil in a large bowl.  Add the meat and toss to coat.  Cover, and allow to marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.  Make the stir-fry sauce by combining all ingredients until sugar is dissolved.

10 minutes before you want to eat – heat ¼ cup canola oil in a wok or large skillet over very high heat.  When oil just begins to smoke, add the meat.  (If you are working with a smaller wok or pan, you may have to do this in two batches.)  Allow a crust to form on the bottom (30 – 60 seconds), then turn to brown the other side (another minute).  Add the red and green onions, red pepper, and garlic to the pan.  Shake or stir for about 30 seconds.  Add the stir-fry sauce, continuing to stir or shake for another minute or two.  Add the butter and stir until butter melts.  Remove from heat.  Quickly make the dipping sauce, and serve beef over the watercress with the sauce on the side.

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