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Vietnamese-Style Beef with Garlic, Black Pepper, and Lime


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 111

Steamed jasmine rice is a good accompaniment to this sweet-savory dish, but you can also serve it with lettuce leaves for wrapping or on a bed of watercress.

  • 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.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Steamed Jasmine Rice.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 460, Fat (kcal): 27, Fat Calories (g): 240, Saturated Fat (g): 8, Protein (g): 10, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13, Carbohydrates (mg): 8, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 5, Sodium (g): 1430, Cholesterol (g): 85, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Made this for dinner last night & it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I doubled the sauce, left out the peanuts, but added water chestnuts, edamame & baby corn. Outstanding!

Great flavors! I made this with round/flank steak cut into strips and made a small portion, so I estimated amounts with the ingredients. I also left out the peanuts, but it was still tasty. The only things I would recommend are not salting the beef. The sauce has enough saltiness as it is. Also I must remember to just barely cook the beef the first time around and let it cook through completely when I add it at the end. Thanks for sharing a quick and flavorful recipe!

Really enjoyed this recipe, but I would make the following modifications: use a wok. cook meat and veggies as directed, once the veggies are done remove from wok add sauce and cook until thickened then return meat and veggies to wok stir to coat

Delicious and so quick and easy!

Excellent dish, and very easy! I served this over jasmine rice...only thing I might do differently would be to add some sugar snap peas or snow peas to the mix.

Easy & excellent. Every ingredient is key. Whole family loved it and all said they would prefer a tad more sauce (served over rice with steamed broccoli---broccoli was excellent accompaniment).

I loved loved loved this recipe! I went with sirloin steak as it was the best looking piece of beef at my store this weekend, I cooked it whole in a super hot pan and then let it sit, slicing it thin against the grain after it rested. And I replaced the peanuts with pine nuts because I was wrong when i thought I had peanuts in the house and I did want some kind of nut representation. I put this in lettuce leaves and oh boy was it messy and oh boy, was it delicious! Husband thought it was very good as well so yippee! I get to cook this more :)

I used flap meat because I had to make do with what I had in the freezer. I seared the meat first, then took it out of the pan, let it rest and sliced it. This prevented overcooking (we like our beef rare) and worked fine in the recipe. Over all, this was terrific. I served it with Asian green onion cakes and a cucumber salad.

Excellent flavor, comes together quickly, and is great on a bed of lettuce. Would be easy to make after work. This one can stand on its own. I did like another reviewer's use of cucumbers. I did have to substitute ribeye steak for the tri-tip/tenderloin as I had it on hand. Overall - quick, minimal ingredients, full flavored, flexible/forgiving, and plates beautifully

Yumm. Loved it. Served with noodles on a bed of lettuce and mint. I didn't have the problem with thickness although I didn't have any fish sauce so used oyster sauce instead so maybe its a bit thicker to start with.

This recipe is delicious! I'm not a very good cook and my kids are really picky eaters but this dish came out great. I didn't have to force my kids to eat it. They ate everything and wanted more. The only change I did was I added a little starch to the sauce to thicken it a little more since it still was a bit watery.

My family really enjoyed this. I served it withnlettuce cups to use for lettuce wraps and thinly sliced cucumber for a little more crunch. The meat was extremely tasty and overall a light and filling meal. I too added a small amount of cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it a bit.

Solid recipe, I was a little bit gun-shy with the amount of pepper (it seemed like way too much but I'm sure it's not!!), so I only used 1 tsp - but it wasn't overwhelming and added a nice punch to the recipe. Next time around I'll go with the full amount. Also for our next attempt, I will under-cook the meat in the first step - it wound up more well done than my husband or I prefer (however it wasn't an overly thick tri-tip to begin with). We added mushrooms - really good addition - and served it over brown rice. This recipe takes no time at all to put together and will be perfect for those nights when we're short on time.

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