I am generally leery of any recipe that claims to be 'insert nationality-style'. The generally rule if the dish claims to be in the 'style' of a national cuisine it is not.
This is a dish that Paul and I have eaten many times at the famed-Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco: bo loc lac, Vietnamese or “shaking beef.” There the dish is dressed with a delicious sauce of zesty lime juice, with loads of garlic, and an unexpected amount of ground black pepper.
Traditionally bo loc lac combines succulent morsels of beef dressed with this lime sauce along with lettuce leaves, sliced tomato and jasmine rice. This is a zesty, deeply seasoned dish. When you taste it, you may understand Anthony Bourdain’s love affair with the country and its cuisine:
“I think I’ve gone bamboo … I’ve gone goofy on Vietnam, fallen hopelessly, hopelessly in love with the place.”
– Anthony Bourdain, “A Cook’s Tour”
My concerns about the use of the word 'style' in the name were set aside and Paul pulled this together the other night. I should have known not to worry as the folks at Fine Cooking rarely lead us astray! The results were brilliant - another fine dinner by Paul.
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 Tbs. fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. peanut or canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb. beef tri-tip steak or tenderloin,cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
3 Tbs. chopped salted peanuts, preferably toasted
2 scallions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced 5 cloves garlic, minced
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and fish
sauce; stir until the sugar dissolves. In another small bowl, stir the
garlic, 1-1/2 tsp. of the oil, and 1-1/2 tsp. pepper.
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1-1/2 tsp.of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Swirl to coat the skillet. Add half of the beef in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the pieces over and brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 1-1/2 tsp. oil to the skillet and repeat with the remaining beef, adding it to the bowl with the first batch when done.
Put the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil in the skillet and heat until shimmering hot. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pan and stir to combine. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef and onions are coated and the sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the peanuts and scallions.