Shake up your regular pantry ingredients and turn them into this stellar Vietnamese beef dish – it gets full marks for its insanely good flavour! The meat melts in the mouth, leaving a gorgeous hint of pepper and umami behind. Top tip: stay brave and get your wok super-duper scary hot to get that all-important sear.
500g (1 lb) beef eye fillet, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp fish sauce
3 spring onions (scallions)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 1 tbsp water
1 red onion, sliced
1 lime wedge
watercress to serve
steamed rice to serve
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Combine the beef with the garlic, fish sauce and a small pinch of salt.
For the stir-fry sauce, mix ingredients in a small bowl.
For the pepper salt, mix the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside for later.
Finely slice the pale part of the spring onion and set aside along with the sliced red onion. Slice the green part of the spring onion into batons and reserve for later.
Scatter watercress over a large plate.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the beef mixture and spread the beef pieces out in the pan. Allow to brown for 1-2 minutes before flipping and stir-frying. Add the red onion and the pale part of the spring onion and stir-fry for another minute. Then pour over the stir-fry sauce and mix through. Add the cornflour mixture and simmer for barely a minute or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Toss through the green part of the spring onion. Spoon out on top of the watercress. Serve with a little dish of the pepper salt and a lime wedge to squeeze into the salt before dipping the beef into it. Serve with steamed rice.