Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2017

© Eric Wolfinger

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Shaking beef

This dish has been on the menu at the Slanted Door since 1995. I had eaten shaking beef in Vietnam, but it was usually made with tough cuts that were overcooked. I started making the dish with filet mignon and cooked it to a rosy medium/rare. Later, I began using grass-fed beef, which we now get from Estancia, a US-based company that raises its beef on ranches in the US, Uruguay and Argentina; it’s the only place we can source the quantity we need. We use 800 lbs. (350 kg) of beef a week.


11/2 lbs. (750 g) filet mignon, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
1 tbsp. (15 ml) plus 1 tsp. (5 ml) sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
½ c. (125 ml) plus 1 tbsp. (15 ml) canola oil
1/4 c. (60 ml) rice vinegar
1/4 c. (60 ml) mirin
1/4 c. (60 ml) light soy sauce
1 tbsp. (15 ml) dark soy sauce
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fish sauce
1 c. (250 ml) thinly sliced red onion
3 whole scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) lengths
1 tbsp. (15 ml) finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter
1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed

For the dipping sauce

2 tsp. (10 ml) salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. (20 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice


In a bowl, combine the beef, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of the sugar, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the oil, and stir to mix well. Let marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.

In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of sugar, mirin, light and dark soy sauces, and fish sauce until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Divide the meat into two equal portions. Heat a wok over high heat until hot; the metal will have a matte appearance and a drop or two of water flicked onto its surface should evaporate on contact. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of oil and heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add half of the beef in a single layer and sear for about 5 minutes, until a brown crust forms on the first side. Flip the cubes and cook for 1 minute on the second side.

Add half each of the red onion and scallions and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add half of the soy sauce mixture and shake the pan to coat the cubes of beef. Add half each of the garlic and butter, and shake the pan to distribute evenly. Transfer to a dish and keep warm.

Wipe the wok clear and return to high heat. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the oil, beef, red onion, scallions, garlic and butter.

Arrange the watercress on a platter and top with the beef. In a small bowl, stir together the salt and pepper, and squeeze in the lime juice. Place alongside the platter for dipping the beef cubes as you eat. Serves 3 or 4 as part of a multi-course meal.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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