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Beefed Up

April 10, 2010

Bo Luc Lat

A few posts ago, I mentioned accidentally purchasing pea sprouts (instead of watercress) but having intentions of making a beef salad. I finally got down to doing it tonight. And I made it the way I remembered it growing up. Sort of.

Against better judgment, I opted not to do it the way my dad used to make it (since he is the cook of the family). Instead, I opted to make a better attempt at what my mom used to make. Now, Van is a big fan of defrosting meat in the sink. Like she will pull meat out of the freezer in the morning and let it sit there all day until it defrosted in the early evening – sometimes she would leave the meat in the sink for 48 hours. I didn’t realize until fairly recently (like 2 years ago) that’s a bad thing to do, and I’m not sure how we didn’t get sick all these years (oh wait, we didn’t eat her food). But when the meat was defrosted, she would slice it and doctor it up with who-knows-what (I’m guessing Tabasco, hoisin sauce and MSG – seriously, who actually has MSG in the house?) and then huge a** chunks of onions. It made the house smell not-so-great, even though she didn’t end up cooking up the beef thoroughly. So when she was done, the beef was still relatively red (okay, that’s not a bad thing) and the onions semi-raw (ew). Between this and her choice of seasonings, her beef definitely wasn’t edible.

So tonight I have a Vietnamese recipe called Bo Luc Lat (shaking beef) dedicated to my non-cook of a mother.

The Boy’s Reaction: He liked it. He really liked it. I think he would have done back flips if he could.

Van’s Bo Luc Lat (Shaking Beef) – Revised by The Girl (Her Daughter)

1 lb beef (some people do chunks, but I purchased “sandwich” slices and cut them into strips)
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly

2 tablespoons vegetarian stir fry sauce (um, I didn’t have oyster sauce and yes, I realize how ironic it is to use vegetarian-anything in a beef dish)
2 tablespoons sesame oil (you can use half this amount)
1 tablespoon Maggi seasoning (you can also use soy sauce)
1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 handfuls of pea sprouts, split between two places
cucumbers & tomato slices

2 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons of oil (most Vietnamese people will tell you to use a neutral oil – like canola. I use olive oil. Oil sch-moil)
a pinch of salt
black pepper, to taste

Place meat into bowl with onion. Add ingredients for the marinade. Toss together with spoon or with hands. Let marinate at least an hour (or up to 24 hours).

Now when you’re hungry and want to eat (let’s assume you wait an hour for the beef to marinade) . . .  split the watercress/pea sprouts between 2 plates. Garnish with cucumbers and tomatoes (you be the judge on how much). Put aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil. When the oil is hot, add beef and its marinade. You’ll have to stir this around occasionally (hence, the name “shaking beef” – the Vietnamese are creative, no?).

While the beef is cooking, prepare the marinade by placing all the ingredients in a bowl and whisking them altogether. That’s it!

When beef is done (and really, the temperature is to your liking. For this dish, I cooked it until it was well done, which took about 10-15 minutes), add on top of the salad. Marvel in its beauty (he he) and then pour desired amount of dressing on top (I would suggest about 3-4 tablespoons).


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