Shaking Beef


Cubes of beef tenderloin are supertender in this wonderfully spiced and elegant Vietnamese classic. It’s called “shaking beef” because you shake the pan to toss the beef while cooking it. More Fast Asian Recipes

Shaking Beef
Photo: © Anna Williams
Total Time:
30 mins



  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3 tablespoons medium-dry sherry

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for cooking the meat

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, lower third of the tender inner bulb only, minced

  • 6 ounces watercress (10 packed cups)

  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced


prepare the meat

  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and five-spice powder with the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the beef and turn to coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

prepare the vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce with the vegetable oil, sherry, red wine vinegar, minced ginger, sugar, garlic and lemongrass. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.

  2. Mound the watercress and red onion on a platter and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Set 2 large skillets over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to each skillet; when shimmering, add the meat to both skillets in an even layer. Let cook undisturbed, until richly browned on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake the skillet to release the meat and cook for about 30 seconds longer, until medium-rare. Scrape the beef onto the watercress. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, toss lightly and serve right away.

Make Ahead

The vinaigrette can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

Suggested Pairing

Napa Cabernet.

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