Friday, November 13, 2009

Wok Seared "Shaking" Beef + Vietnamese Red Rice (Com Bo Luc Lac)

Com Bo Luc Lac is a widely popular dish in Vietnamese restaurants despite it not being part of many Vietnamese home cook's repertoire.

A Vietnamese friend of mine tells me that the “luc lac” is merely a description for the “shaking” or tossing of the beef back and forth in the wok after it’s quickly seared. This dish is often paired together with red rice.

To make the red rice, it's best to use 'one-day-old' rice instead of freshly cooked rice so that the rice doesn't become soggy after cooking. I actually didn't have any left over rice when I made this dish, so I just cooked the rice as usual on the day, spread the rice out on a flat dish leaving it at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes than I popped it into the fridge to dry out for about an hour or two. The results still turned out OK :P

Serves 2-3


750g beef (any cut you like)


½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1½ teaspoons sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce and 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce


Lettuce leaves
2-4 Tomatoes, sliced
1 Cucumber, sliced

2 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced

  1. Trim excess fat from the beef and then cut into cubes. In a shallow dish, combine the pepper, sugar, garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. Add the beef and toss well to coat. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
  2. Place lettuce leaves onto a platter or serving dish. Heat oil in a wok over high heat then add the onions and beef  (spread it out in one layer. Cook in batches, if necessary). Let the beef sear for about 1 minute, before shaking the wok to sear another side. Cook for another 30 seconds or so and shake. Cook the beef for about 4 minutes total, until nicely browned and medium rare.
  3. Transfer the beef onto lettuce leaves, sprinkle some more cracked black pepper and garnish with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Serve immediately with Vietnamese red rice (see recipe below).

Vietnamese Red Rice


1 1/2 cups cooked rice
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten


  1. Put the cooked rice on a baking sheet and refrigerate it, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours, until it is dry enough for you to gently crumble in your hands. Midway through, turn the rice to ensure even drying. Before cooking, return the rice to room temperature.
  2. To make the rice, heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Then add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the rice and turn it red. Increase the heat slightly and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, until the rice is heated through.
  3. Push the rice to sides of wok, add the beaten egg to the centre of the wok and scramble it for about 2 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle the salt on the rice and eggs and stir fry everything together to combine well. For extra richness, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Continue to gently fry the rice for another 1 to 2 minutes, to sear in the flavors. Remove from the heat, taste and add extra salt, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and serve immediately. 
Notes & Tips

Like all good fried rice, cook your rice on the firm side (use less water than usual) so that the grains retain their individuality. Then let the rice dry out in the refrigerator. If you have leftover rice, here's a great way to use it up! The rice will literally fry without soaking up tons of fat. The less moisture the better for fried rice, otherwise it becomes soggy.  The tomato paste is a great addition to the rice since it gives the rice great colour and a touch of sweet flavour.

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