Recipe courtesy of Chris Milano

Vietnamese 'Shaking Beef' Sandwich with a Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Aioli, Watercress and Crispy Fried Onion Strings

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Shaking Beef:

1 1/2 pounds very thinly sliced rib-eye steak*, trimmed of any excess fat, at room temperature

1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, divided

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

5 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup white wine

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 large red onion, medium dice

1 large red bell pepper, medium dice

1 jalapeno (stemmed, seeded, ribs removed), small dice

2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

4 green onion stalks, diced

To assemble:

4 (6 to 7-inch) baguette rolls, split

Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Aioli, recipe follows

1 large bunch or package baby watercress

1 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs

1 red bell pepper, stem, seeds and ribs removed, julienne cut

1 English cucumber, peeled and cut on diagonal into 1 1/4-inch rounds

2 jalapenos, sliced very thin (optional, but recommended)

To serve:

Crispy Fried Onion Strings, recipe follows

1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges

Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Aioli:

4 large jalapenos

4 cloves garlic, papery outer layer still attached

Dash cayenne pepper

1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 lime, zested

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

2 cups mayonnaise

Crispy Fried Onion Strings:

Canola oil, for frying

4 cups rice flour

4 large red onions, sliced paper-thin

Fine salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Bunch chives, minced


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To the meat, add half of the granulated sugar, half of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil. Next, combine the remaining sugars, vinegar, wine, soy sauce and fish sauce in a bowl. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
  2. Divide the meat into 2 portions. Place 2 large skillets over the highest heat possible and add 1 tablespoon of oil to each skillet. When the oil begins to smoke, add 1/2 the meat in 1 layer to each pan. Let sit until a brown crust forms, and turn to brown the other side. Browning should take approximately 2 to 3 minutes total. Set aside, drain 1 skillet of excess oil and lightly wipe down with a paper towel.
  3. In that skillet, add 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeno with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook stirring often until lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and green onions and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. While the onion mixture is finishing cooking, place the 4 baguettes in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly toasted and warmed through. Add the beef and vinegar mixture to the onions, and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if desired. Keep warm while you assemble the sandwich.
  4. To assemble each sandwich, spread 1 scant tablespoon of aioli on both sides of the baguette. On the bottom half, add a small handful of watercress, then 1/4 of the meat mixture, top with a small handful of cilantro, some julienne bell pepper, a few slices of cucumber, and a few slices of jalapeno. Enjoy and serve along with 2 lime wedges (which are meant to be squeezed over the meat right before eating), Crispy Fried Onion Strings, and additional aioli in a ramekin for dipping - and enjoy!

Fire-Roasted Jalapeno Aioli:

  1. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the jalapeno and garlic to the dry skillet. Cook until blackened and charred on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place in a plastic bag, seal and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Then remove the stems, most of the skin, and all of the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno, and the outer layer of the garlic. Add jalapenos and garlic to a food processor or blender with remaining ingredients. Blend, taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper and cayenne if desired and enjoy!;
  2. (Makes enough for 4 sandwiches, plus extra for dipping Onion Strings) .

Crispy Fried Onion Strings:

  1. Fill a large heavy pot 1/3 full with oil and heat to 350 degrees F. Line a plate with paper towels. Place the flour in a large paper bag or bowl. Add the onions, toss well to coat and shake off the excess. Fry the onions until golden brown (you may need to do this in 2 batches if your pot isnt big enough), about 4 minutes. Remove to the paper towel lined plate, and immediately sprinkle generously with salt and a touch of pepper. Place a large mound on each plate and top with chopped chives. Serve with a ramekin of the aioli and enjoy!

Cook’s Note

You can ask your butcher to thin slice your rib-eye steak for you. Or, you can freeze your steak for 20 minutes in the freezer (which makes it easier to slice), then slice it on the bias yourself.