Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vietnamese "Shaken" Venison

This is a simple Vietnamese dish, common in most households and restaurants. The only difference is that it's always made with beef, but it's great made with venison, too. For the most part, you can't even tell the difference. 

I grew up eating Thit Bo Luc Lac, or "Shaken" Beef. It's "shaken" because of the shaking motion you make (or supposed to make) with the pan when you sauté the meat. Most people translate it into "shaking" beef, but I'm going to change it to "shaken" because "shaking" is confusing in its present tense. The meat does not actually shake while you're eating it. That would be very creepy. And because I suck at any fancy tricks in the kitchen, I cheat by using tongs to move the meat around. You can, too. I won't tell.

For my mom who had a full-time job and also had to come home and feed her husband, my brother and me, this was an easy, delicious meal that she could whip up in just minutes. The beef is marinated in a few simple ingredients, browned and then served over a bed of lightly dressed watercress and eaten with white rice. I used arugula here, because watercress is not popular in my part of the world, and because I simply do not like it. Arugula has a similar peppery taste, but without so much bitterness. If you like watercress, go for it. 

The salad dressing used here is quintessential Vietnamese, as far as salad dressing goes. It's light, slightly sweet and acidic. I hope you give this recipe a try. It's a nice change from typical venison dishes. All these ingredients can be found at any major grocery store. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes to 2 hours
Cook Time: 4-7 minutes
- 1 pound of venison tenderloin or roast
- 1 tablespoon of peanut oil
- cooked jasmine rice, for serving (or your favorite white rice)
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 4 cups of watercress(only tender leafy parts) or arugula
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- kosher salt, to taste
- 3-5 cracks of black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of water

1. Clean venison of all fat and silver skin, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Then add venison and marinate, covered, for at least 20 minutes but no more than 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Before cooking, remove meat from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature for even cooking. 
2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except the watercress/ arugula. Do not toss until ready to eat. Set aside.

3. Next, heat peanut oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add venison cubes in one layer, and allow it to sear on this first side for 1 minute. Then shake the pan (or flip with tongs), to sear the other sides for 30 seconds each. Cook venison for about 4 minutes total or until nicely browned and medium-rare. Then toss arugula or watercress into dressing. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Move greens to a serving dish and pile cooked venison on top. Serve immediately with jasmine rice. 


  1. Lovely venison dish. In the absence of salad, I put it atop some stir fried veg and a bunch of sprouts, all dressed with the vinegar/sugar dressing. Delish.

    1. Awesome! So glad to know that someone tried this recipe. The salad is interchangeable with anything you want. Thanks for letting us know that you tried it!


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