A plate with steak, tomatoes and arugula.

Vietnamese Shaking Beef – Chef Alison Mountford

By Alison Mountford, contributing chef

QUICK TIPS – This dish is inspired by a Vietnamese classic. It’s a little decadent so I always make it around the holidays; and don’t skimp on the butter! The key to color is caramelization over high heat. You’ll sizzle and smoke and get flavor in that sear. Serves 4.


1.25 pound filet beef tips

5 Tablespoon canola oil (divided)

2 teaspoon white sugar (divided)

2.5 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)

1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

3 Tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)

2 Tablespoon rice vinegar

2 Tablespoon mirin

1 teaspoon fish sauce

2 limes

3 clove garlic (minced)

1 red onion (small and thinly sliced)

5 green onions

2 Roma tomato

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)



Many of these ingredients are divided and used in two places, so we’ve listed the specifics under each step of the recipe below.


Dice the beef into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl. To the beef add: 1 Tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir well to combine.

Cover and let stand at cool room temperature for up to 2 hours; refrigerate if marinating longer. And, if you only have a few minutes to marinate, that will be just fine.


Whisk together all of the soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce and the remaining sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Zest and juice one lime into the sauce. Slice the other lime into wedges and reserve.


Thinly slice the red onion into julienne strips. Chop the green onions into ½ inch long pieces, both white and green parts. Slice the tomatoes into about 6-8 wedges each.


You’re going to cook everything in 2 batches. You can mentally divide everything or actually separate into 2 piles. Set a 9 x 13 baking dish near the stove to catch the first batch when it’s done.

Use a large, heavy bottom pan, ideally with shallow sides – so a sauté pan, large cast iron skillet, or even a good wok if you have one.

Heat the pan over high heat and add 2 Tablespoons of canola oil to the pan. When it’s hot and shimmery, add ½ of the beef in a single layer. Cook about 3 minutes without moving it around! This will allow a crust to form on the bottom. Flip the cubes and cook 1 minute on the second side. Carefully pour off any excess grease.

To the beef in the pan, add ½ of each of the following: the red onion, green onion, tomatoes and garlic –  and cook about 60 seconds, stirring as needed. Add ½ of the soy sauce mixture, stir and shake the pan to coat the beef.

Finally, add ½ the butter, and shake the pan to distribute evenly and melt.

Transfer beef and all of the sauce to the casserole dish.


Wipe the pan clean if there are any brown bits. Do it again! Start over high heat with the remaining oil. Add and cook the beef. Then the remaining onions, garlic, and tomatoes, and cook 60 seconds. Add the remaining sauce and cook. Then add the rest of the butter.

This time, add the first batch back to the pan to warm through for 1 minute and remove from the heat.


Serve beef over steamed white rice. Pour sauce over top. Garnish with the lime wedges.


Here is your downloadable recipe, perfect for printing:


Find other recipes from Alison, here:


Chef Alison Mountford is the founder of Ends+Stems – which is a meal planning membership and recipe website to reduce food waste. “Chef Alison” also hosts a series of online courses for easier weeknight meals and feeding picky eaters with less stress. Alison began in 2005 as a personal chef and caterer in San Francisco but she recently returned home to Rhode Island!

She is passionate about helping families eat well together, with less frustration. Alison is often hired as a speaker to share about household food waste, feeding busy families, and sustainability in the kitchen; she’s appeared many times on The Rhode Show and other podcasts and webinars.

Alison is also the Market Coordinator at Hope & Main – Rhode Island only culinary incubator – where she loves helping new food businesses expand their social media, brand, and increase sales at the farmer’s markets!