Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac

  
As the arrival of our daughter gets closer, J and I have started perfecting some of our favorite restaurant dishes at home. We finally got this dish perfect and couldn’t be happier. The original recipe can be found here.

Beef Marinade Ingredients (makes the gravy):
1.5 pounds beef sirloin (or any cut you like) cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1.5 tablespoons sugar (we have found brown works pretty well)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce (we used regular, but the original recipe calls for thick)

Vinaigrette Ingredients (for quick pickling of the veggies and a tablespoon or two in some white rice makes a HUGE difference!):
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoons salt

Dipping Sauce Ingredients (this is our favorite part, it really brings the whole dish together!):
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Non-sauce Ingredients:
1 red onion, thinly sliced (you can use yellow in a pinch)
2 bunches of iceberg or watercress or romaine, long stems trimmed
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Cooking oil for frying

Directions:
Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hours let marinate in the refrigerate. (Note: If you’re thinking ahead (like we occasionally do), feel free to combine the beef and the marinade and freeze the mixture. Then you can just take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator when you leave for work.)

Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. It should look something like this:
Vinaigrette for quick pickling

Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4tablespoons tablespoons the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes (longer is better here too!). Prepare bed of lettuce and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.

Heat a large wok or pan over high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. Do this in batches to cook all the beef if necessary. This will sear the beef so it looks like this:
Vietnamese Shaking Beef

Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes. Drizzle another 3-4 tablespoons of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small bowl and use for dipping the beef, or feel free to just drizzle it on. The dipping sauce should look like this:
Bo Luc Lac dipping sauce

My opinion:
This has to be in my top 10 favorite dishes of all time. I love the veggies and the balance of all five flavors. I also love that the rice isn’t even really necessary for this to be a filling meal. Plus even if you do all the prep work right before dinner, the whole start to finish time is only about 30 minutes.

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