Vietnamese "shaking beef" with lime juice and garlic recipe

By Linda Shiue

Published February 15, 2011 1:30AM (EST)

Serves 6

Note: To answer the question that might come to mind, this is called "shaking beef" to describe the action of jiggling a wok to sauté the beef. The lime-pepper-garlic dipping sauce is typically associated with this dish, but for non-beef eaters, it also makes an intensely flavorful dressing for salads, fish, shrimp, and deep-fried tofu cubes.


  • 2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into ¾-inch cubes


  • 1 teaspoon nuoc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Lime-Pepper-Garlic Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • Garnishes:
  • 15 green or red leaf lettuce leaves
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • Steamed jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Combine all ingredients for marinade and add cubed beef. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, then pour off marinade. 
  2. Combine all ingredients for lime-pepper-garlic dipping sauce and let stand at room temperature.
  3. Heat oil in a large sauté pan or wok at high heat. Add garlic, sugar and black pepper and allow to caramelize for a minute.
  4. Add drained, marinated beef to the pan and stir-fry for 2 minutes. (If the beef can't fit comfortably in one layer in the pan, separate it into batches and divide the ingredients in step 3 accordingly.)
  5. Add soy sauce and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Beef should be seared on the outside and medium-rare to medium on the inside.
  6. Garnish a platter with the lettuce leaves. Mound the cooked beef on top. Garnish with tomato slices.
  7. Serve lime-pepper-garlic dipping sauce on the side, or pour over the cooked beef just before eating. Enjoy with steamed jasmine rice.
  8. Lettuce leaves can be used as wrappers for the beef.

Recipe adapted from Boston's Elephant Walk restaurant.

Linda Shiue

MORE FROM Linda Shiue

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Food Recipes