Cambodian Black Pepper Beef (Lok Lak)

Wok cooking happens quickly, so prepare each ingredient beforehand. 2019 Best New Chef Nite Yun’s intensely flavorful marinade not only tenderizes the flank steak but also adds punchy flavor in just a few minutes of cooking. Golden Mountain seasoning sauce is slightly saltier than soy sauce, with a hint of sweetness. Find it online and at Asian markets. Kampot peppercorns are available at

Cambodian Black Pepper Beef Lok Lak
Photo: Greg Dupree
Total Time:
20 mins


  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce

  • 1/4 cup crushed garlic (about 8 garlic cloves)

  • 3 tablespoons cooking rice wine

  • 2 3/4 tablespoons raw sugar

  • 2 tablespoons soy seasoning sauce (such as Golden Mountain) 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons crushed plus 1 teaspoon coarsely ground Kampot or other black peppercorns, divided

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 pounds flank steak, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onion (from 1 medium onion)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

  • 8 butter lettuce leaves

  • 1 unripe red tomato, cut into 8 wedges


  1. Stir together oyster sauce, garlic, rice wine, sugar, soy seasoning sauce, dark soy sauce, and crushed Kampot peppercorns in a small bowl.

  2. Stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl until cornstarch is dissolved; add beef, and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup of the oyster sauce mixture; cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Cover remaining oyster sauce mixture, and set aside.

  3. Heat oil in a wok over high. Carefully add beef mixture to wok, and cook, shaking wok often, until beef has a brown sear, 4 to 5 minutes. Add red onion and remaining oyster sauce mixture, and cook, shaking wok often, 2 more minutes.

  4. Stir together lime juice, sea salt, and coarsely ground Kampot peppercorns. Place beef, lettuce leaves, and tomatoes on a platter, and serve with lime sauce.

Suggested Pairing

Light-bodied, spicy Loire Cabernet Franc.

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