Vietspices Search

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bò Lúc Lắc (Shaken Beef)

Bò Lúc Lắc  is such an interesting name. Bò means beef and Lúc Lắc refers to the way you shake the wok or pan to cook the beef. Hence, you'll see it referred to as Shaken Beef.

Bò Lúc Lắc is the small cubes of beef that is coated with savory seasonings and hinted with the fragrance of five heavenly spices (pepper, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and fennel). This is then cooked by shaking the wok until the beef is charred beautifully browned on the outside, keeping it perfectly rare on the inside.

I love serving this dish with lettuce and assorted vegetables especially in the spring and summer time. This dish is as tasty as it is beautiful. The charred cubes of beef are arranged on top of a bed of green lettuce or watercress surrounded with gorgeous red tomatoes. To add more protein and color, you can - like I sometimes do - scattered some slices of  hard-boiled eggs.

The other day, I served my family this Bò Lúc Lắc on a bed of garlic egg noodle mixed with asparagus and mushroom for dinner. I know a dish is good when I don't have to constantly remind my girls to finish their plates.

Bò Lúc Lắc is a popular Vietnamese dish. This is an easy shaken beef recipe that's delicious and simple to make.
RECIPE: Bò Lúc Lắc

1 pound Rib Eye or Beef Sirloin
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1 tablepoon Oyster Sauce
1 tablespoon brown or white Sugar
1 teaspoon Five-Spice Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 cloves of Garlic
1 red or white Onion, wedged
2 Tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch Lettuce or Watercress
3 hard boiled Eggs, optional, wedged

Cutting Beef

Cut beef into small, about 2/3 inch cubes.  Set aside.
Marinating Beef

Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, five-spice powder and garlic in a bowl.

Add the beef and stir to coat. Cover and set aside for at least 10 minutes to marinate.
Preparing Vegetables

Arrange lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, and eggs if used on a serving plate.  Set aside.

Cooking Beef

Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add onion and cook until fragrant and charred.  Transfer onion  bowl.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in the same pan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the garlic and beef and shake the pan.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until the beef is charred but still pink in the center. Transfer to a bowl.   If you double the recipe, make a small batch at a time to ensure the beef is charred. Repeat with the oil, garlic and beef.

If serving with garlic noodle, click here for the recipe. Add a little less soy sauce mixture than the recipe calls for since the beef is already packed full of flavor. If adding mushroom and asparagus to the noodle dish, heat a pan with butter and garlic.  Add sliced asparagus and mushroom.  

Saute for a couple of minutes then add the soy sauce mixture.  Turn of heat.  Mix in the noodles and finely chopped cilantro.  

Saute garlic and onion and use it as a garnish for the Bò Lúc Lắc noodle dish.


Mix beef and onion together. Place it on top of a vegetable serving plate.  Serve on the side with  a dipping salt mixture made with a dash of salt, ground black pepper and fresh lime juice.

Another way of presenting Bò Lúc Lắc is combining 11/2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 2/3 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle the sauce over the beef plate. Serve immediately.

Enjoy Bò Lúc Lắc on a bed of garlic noodle for dinner. Don't forget to drizzle on some sirracha sauce to give it a kick. Open up a bottle of your favorite red and it will pair wonderfully with this dish.

Bon Appetite!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dưa Cải Chua (Pickled Mustard Greens)

What's a woman to do on a rainy day especially with the forecast of a storm looming on the horizon? How about cozying up with a nice hot cup of matcha green tea on her couch and blogging away about mustard greens? Doesn't that sound sour and delicious all at once?

Dưa Cải Chua (pickled mustard greens) is one of the recipes that I've been blogging on and off for some time but remains unfinished due to the busy holidays season. Thanks to inclement weather, it shall be done today.

This Dưa Cải Chua is simpler to prepare than you may imagine. It's a Vietnamese staple and should have in your lovely kitchen; It serves as a great to contrasting taste to many salty home-cooked dishes such as braised catfish in claypot (cá kho tộ), caramelized pork and hard boiled egg (thịt kho trứng), caramelized pork belly with lemongrass and shrimp paste sauce (thịt kho ruốc sả) or fried fish (cá chiên) - you can finish off the list. The irresistibly crunchy and tart  dưa cải chua is perfect with almost any rich and savory dishes. On a cold day like today, instead of eating it straight from the jar, I like to saute it with diced garlic for a nice warm dish; make soup or curry out of it, or braise beef shank with it. One of my favorite dưa cải chua dishes is sauteing it with diced garlic and scrambled egg.

The main ingredients to ferment the mustard greens are just salt, sugar and the omnipotent sunlight. It is simple and allows the natural flavor and color of the greens to come through. It's effectively preserved the greens as well. The preparation of dưa cải chua takes no more than twenty minutes but the process of fermentation takes about a week before it's ready to serve. This fermentation process can be sped up by sun drying.  Dưa cải chua can be kept in the fridge for a few months.  
RECIPE: Dưa Cải Chua
Printable Recipe


2 bunch Mustard Greens, about 4 pounds
1 medium Onion
4-6 cloves of Garlic
1 bunch of Spring Onion, optional
12 cups Water 
3 tablespoons Salt 
3 tablespoon Sugar 

Clean and dry jars or glass bowls and lids thoroughly. Set aside.
Preparing Water Mixture

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve. Let it cool. It's okay if the water is still a little bit warm.
Preparing Mustard Greens

Cut off ends of the mustard greens and discard. Trim the parts that are bruised, and yellow. Wash the greens with cold water, then shake off the excess water.  Cut greens into sections about 1 inch long.  

Shake off the excess water one more time.  I like to place the bottom of the coriander on top of the other one and shake off the the excess water.  Set aside.

Preparing Onion and Garlic

Slice onion and garlic. Set aside. If used green onion, cut it into 2 inches segments. Set aside.

Fermenting Mustard Greens

Pack greens, garlic, onion, or spring onions into the jar. Pour the liquid into the jar covering the greens.

Press the greens down with the back of the soup spoon to submerge them in the liquid. It's okay if the liquid doesn't cover the greens completely right away since the greens will continue to expel liquid as they ferment. But make sure the liquid covers the greens in the same day. If necessary, make more liquid to fully cover the greens.

Secure the mouth of the jar with a tight lid. Place the jar in a warm spot in your kitchen and allow to ferment for 4-6 days. The warmer the room is, the quicker it will ferment.  You can speed up the fermentation process by leaving the jar in the sun.

As the greens start to ferment, they will turn a beautiful shade of yellowish green. Properly fermented greens should smell like pickles. They are crunchy and have a sour, salty, and spicy taste.

You can keep it refrigerated for at least a few months. Drain the greens well before serving.

Here's to your sour and salty cravings!