Bo Luc Lac – Vietnamese Sizzling Beef Salad

This is a fantastic recipe for summer!  Quick, easy, can be prepared outdoors on the barbie and plated at the table.  It’s so fresh and inviting, with a divine dressing that jazzes up the most dour of taste buds.  For a more substantial meal you could serve this over cooked rice noodles, or have a crusty baguette on the side to mop up the juices, but personally I find the salad to be very satisfying and just perfect as is.  The dressing is very versatile and just plain addictive.   The same salad and dressing would go well with char-grilled scallops or salmon fillet too.

So – Bo Luc Lac or Vietnamese “Shaking” or Sizzling Beef Salad is a classic made with a minimum of fuss.  It comprises cubes of stir fried steak, a simple but exciting salad mix, and that gorgeous dressing that can be modified to suit your taste buds.  It’s also incredibly healthy with very little oil / fat content and plenty of greens and vegetables. 

I’ve adapted this from recipes from Andrea Nguyen’s Into The Vietnamese Kitchen, Mai Pham’s Pleasures Of The Vietnamese Table and Jaden of Steamy Kitchen with my own preferences and modifications.

Serves 4 for a healthy but fulfilling lunch.

. . . . . . . . . . .



1 – 3 red chillies, finely chopped

2 – 4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cm piece ginger, peeled and minced

2 tbs finely chopped fresh coriander

6 tbs fish sauce

4 tbs lime juice

2 tbs white sugar

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

. . . . . . . . . .

Steak & Marinade

500 g sirloin or scotch fillet – you want a high-end cut of meat as it will be stir-fried fast and high; a cheaper cut will be tough and unpleasant – cut into 2 cm dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 / 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

. . . . . . . . . .


Approx 6 handfuls mixed salad greens, eg mesclun, baby spinach leaves, baby cos, torn into small pieces, washed and spun very dry

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into very thin wedges [or approx 10 cherry tomatoes, halved]

1 Lebanese cucumber, roughly peeled and sliced in half lengthwise, then finely crosswise

1 / 2 white onion, top and bottom sliced off and peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into paper thin half-rounds; separate rings

2 handfuls bean sprouts, very fresh and white

Handful each of coriander and Vietnamese mint leaves [picked off stalks]

. . . . . . . . . . .


For the dressing, combine chillies, ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle and pound gently until crushed roughly – not too smooth or paste-like.  Add fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, black pepper and coriander and stir until sugar is dissolved and all ingredients are combined well.  Taste and correct for balance of flavours; you want the dressing to be a balance of hot / sour / sweet.  You can add a tablespoon of hot [boiled] water if you think the dressing is a bit too thick.

Mix steak marinade ingredients together and marinade the diced steak for half an hour.  Drain the meat cubes from the marinade and dry by tossing in a sieve or patting with a paper towel.  If there is much moisture the meat will stew rather than sear and fry rapidly.  Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a wok on a very high heat. 

When the wok is really hot add a third to half the meat cubes and stir fry briskly for a few minutes until well-browned on all sides but still very tender and juicy within.  If the meat is not browning fast enough then your wok is not hot enough.  Once the first batch of steak cubes is ready, remove to a plate using a slotted spoon, straining off as much as the oil as possible.  Let the wok sit over the heat for a couple of minutes to get really hot again then continue cooking the other batches of steak.

[Alternatively – less authentically but equally delicious – you can char-grill the whole piece of steak, rest for ten minutes then slice thinly across the grain.  Make sure to save the steak juices from the resting period and drizzle over the steak when arranging the salad.]

Prepare salad greens, tomatoes, cucumber and onion.  Pick through the bean sprouts, topping and tailing any straggly looking bits.  Wash the bean sprouts and dry on paper towel.   Reserve a few sprigs of Vietnamese mint and coriander for garnish.  Toss salad ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl until well combined – but be very gentle as you don’t want to squash or bruise the greens and herbs.

Add half the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.  Arrange in neat piles on plates.  Place the steak cubes / slices in the centre of the salad pile.  Drizzle a little extra dressing over the steak and salad and garnish with the extra herb sprigs and bean sprouts

Eat with fork and spoon; I like to toss all the salad and meat together so the dressing and meat juices all combine and add that extra flavour and tanginess.

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  • By Recipe Index « OTTERKAT on Tuesday 11 October 2011 at 11:25 am

    […] Bo Luc Lac  [Vietnamese Sizzling Steak Salad] […]

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