Cubes of beef tenderloin are supertender in this wonderfully spiced and elegant Vietnamese classic. It's called "shaking beef" because you shake the pan to toss the beef while cooking it.
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- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for cooking the meat
- 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lemongrass stalk, lower third of the tender inner bulb only, minced
- 6 ounces (10 packed cups) watercress
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, pepper and five-spice powder with the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the beef and turn to coat thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce with the vegetable oil, sherry, red wine vinegar, minced ginger, sugar, garlic and lemongrass. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.
- Mound the watercress and red onion on a platter and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Set 2 large skillets over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to each skillet; when shimmering, add the meat to both skillets in an even layer. Let cook undisturbed, until richly browned on the bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Shake the skillet to release the meat and cook for about 30 seconds longer, until medium-rare. Scrape the beef onto the watercress. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette, toss lightly and serve right away.
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