This Vietnamese beef dish is a quick, easy and delicious stir fry, served with fresh watercress and lime wedges or try the optional seasoned lime juice dipping sauce.
This beef stir fry is one of my favourites. The beef itself cooks up really quickly and is a wonderful combination of flavours. The hot beef is served on top of peppery fresh watercress, that wilts a bit from the hot meat. Together with the sauce, it’s a lovely combination. To top it off, a drizzle of fresh lime juice really makes the flavours pop.
As for the beef, I usually just buy stir fry strips, but any beef will work just fine. The beef does need a 2 hour marinating time, so be sure to plan ahead for that.
I love to serve this dish with rice. Alongside, serve either lime wedges, that you would drizzle over the beef, or serve with the optional lime dipping sauce, which is fresh lime juice mixed with a little salt and pepper.
The name of this dish comes from the action of shaking the beef in the pan when you add the sauce. In case you were wondering :)
This dish tends to the salty side, with both salty soy sauce and added salt. If you have low-sodium soy sauce, I would recommend it. You can also adjust the amount of added salt to taste.
I love fresh watercress, but if you can’t find any, arugula, spinach, baby kale or another similar green would be fine.
Don’t skip the lime! Either serve with lime wedges or the lime dipping sauce, but definitely use limes. It really elevates this dish.
Get the Recipe: Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Watercress
- 1 lb beef strips
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp vegetable, canola or other neutral cooking oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 Tbsp soy sauce (low sodium, if you have)
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 2 stalks green onion, cut in to 1-inch pieces, (green part only)
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced, (red or yellow onion)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
- Lime wedges
- 1 bunch fresh watercress
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp. fine salt)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Combine beef with marinade ingredients and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
- Make sauce by stirring together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside. If serving with rice, start the rice cooking about 15 minutes before you start cooking the beef. Cut green onion and onion and set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a wok over medium-high heat until very hot. Add 1/2 of the beef, 1/2 of the green onion and 1/2 of the red onion to the pan in one layer and allow to cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side of the meat for 1 minute. Remove to a plate and repeat process with other half of the beef, green onion and red onion.
- Add sauce to pan, shaking to loosen the meat. Add beef from plate back in to the pan. Cook, until sauce simmers, then add cornstarch mixture. Cook until sauce is hot and thickened.
- To serve, place some fresh watercress on a plate. Top with hot beef. Serve with some rice and additional lime wedges and/or lime dipping sauce.
I made this last night and the only thing I changed, was to add some veggies, carrots, celery, red bell pepper and more onions. I know, not that authentic but……
This was absolutely fantastic! I thought I had made enough so we could have leftovers for dinner again, but it was so good, we ate most of it.
Thanks for a terrific recipe!
Hi John and thanks! Sounds delicious (and I have been known to sneak veggies in to this one, too) So glad you enjoyed it :)
What a nice and simple looking dish, but packed with flavor!
Another great stir-fry dish to try.
Thanks so much, Dalila :)
Thanks to you, I have quite the list of easy stir fry meals to try. This looks like another winner! :)
Thanks Laura, yes, I do love my stir fries :)
For some reason, I never tire of Asian! Love all the delicious flavors going on here and the fact that it’s hearty but pretty healthy too! The watercress adds such a nice fresh touch.
Thanks Chris and yes, it really is a fairly lean dish (rice is optional ;) My husband always enjoys the feed of beef, as I don’t cook a lot of beef really.
I agree with Sue Jennifer. That sauce looks so delicious! Love it with the watercress and lime.
Thanks so much, Mary Ann :)
The sauce on the meat is glorious Jennifer, I’m loving all your Asian creations lately! Sharing all over the place!
Thanks Sue and yes, the sauce is perfect. Love the Asian flavours :)
I was wondering about the name – simple, descriptive and perfect! I bet this is tasty – the sauce looks so deeply colored and rich. We have a hard time finding watercress but not lime! Thanks for the suggestion of spinach. This is lovely – sharing and pinning :)
Thanks so much, Tricia. And yes, I don’t understand why watercress is so hard to find. It’s one of my favourite greens and it’s an awesome “super green”. I have one store locally that I can always count on to have it, so I’m lucky I guess.