Shaking Beef

Mum’s recipe for Shaking Beef was amazing, and I’ve adapted it here. With your parents’ cooking, they know your palate and how to season for your taste. Mum was not a big sugar person, so her recipe isn’t as sweet as when we went to restaurants. I think that’s what made me fall in love with her particular recipe. I just find it really well balanced.

Khanh Says…

The kitchen is where I spent time with my parents. We were refugees, and Mum and Dad started a business when I was eight or nine. They were out of the house pretty much from the moment I’d go to school til seven or eight o’clock at night. So the time that we would spend together would be in the kitchen, with me sitting on a bench picking herbs, rolling something or chopping carrots – whatever it was that my mum wanted me to do at the time. So it’s a place of comfort for me, and I associate food with comfort.

Shaking Beef is a dish that always reminds me of home. It’s really quite a traditional Vietnamese dish that we had a lot growing up. I always wanted to order it when we ate out at restaurants, but Mum would never let me have it: “We can make this at home!” It’s such a simple dish, but it has the biggest umami bomb. It’s something I just love, and could live off – it’s delicious, quick, easy and healthy.

Food is love. Food is family. Food is culture. All of those things are definitely intertwined. Food is my love language. It’s my way of showing that I have love for someone, that I care about them. Food is a really nice way to break down barriers – to disarm people. I feel as though you connect so much over food and over a meal. That is just beautiful.

Serves 4

600g eye fillet/scotch fillet diced to 2.5cm cubes
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 red capsicum, diced same size as the beef
200g watercress
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
Cracked black pepper

Vinegar Red Onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons white vinegar

Dipping Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
Juice of 1 large lemon

Place beef into a large mixing bowl with 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, sugar, salt and pepper into the bowl and combine all ingredients well. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes.

Place a wok on high heat, then add the remaining vegetable oil until just before smoking point. Mince the remaining cloves of garlic into the hot wok and leave to slightly brown for 5 seconds. Add half the marinated beef into the wok and leave to brown while gently shaking in intervals of 2–3 minutes. Add half the diced capsicum in the last 15 seconds.

Remove the cooked beef and capsicum, and repeat with remaining beef and capsicum. Set aside for plating.

The Vinegar Red Onions is basically a quick pickle: combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Set aside for serving.

For the Dipping Sauce combine all the ingredients and place in a small serving dish.

To serve, place watercress on a large serving platter. Scatter over tomatoes. Place the cooked beef over the tomatoes and watercress, drain the red onions and scatter over the beef. Finish with some fresh cracked pepper.

TIP: This recipe serves 4, because I usually like to keep the beef marinating and cook it again for dinner the night after. All the wonderful sauces become a brine for the beef and makes it so much more tender.

Published in ed#685