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Shaking Beef

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

Made famous by Charles Phan at The Slanted Door in San Francisco, this dish is a little decadent, but we don’t recommend skimping on butter. We’ve simplified it down a bit for a reasonable weeknight meal. The key to color is caramelization over high heat. You’ll sizzle and smoke and get flavor in that sear. If you eat beef once this year- make it this dish. Swoon. *Note - this recipe doesn’t scale, servings are for 4.


  • 114 pounds Tri Tip Beef (see substitutions list for other options)
  • 5 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons White Sugar (divided)
  • 212 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 114 cups Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon Fish Sauce
  • 2 Limes (zest and juice of 1, the other sliced)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Red Onion (small and thinly sliced)
  • 5 Green Onions (or up to 2x more, if you have more hanging around)
  • 2 Roma Tomatos
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 3 cups Arugula

Cooking Instructions


    Many of these ingredients are divided and used in two places, so we’ve listed the specifics under each step of the recipe below.

  • 2. BEEF

    Dice the beef into 1 inch cubes and place in a bowl. To the beef add: 1 Tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and stir well to combine.

    Cover and let stand at cool room temperature for up to 2 hours; refrigerate if marinating longer. And, if you only have a few minutes to marinate, that will be just fine.

  • 3. RICE

    Combine the rice, a ½ teaspoon of salt and the water in a small pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir well and reduce to low. Cover. Steam for 16 minutes or until the rice is tender and water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready to serve.


    Whisk together all of the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, fish sauce and the remaining sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Zest and juice one lime into the sauce. Slice the other lime into wedges and reserve.

  • 5. VEGGIES

    Prep all of the vegetables and set out on a baking sheet or casserole dish by the stove so you’re ready to quickly sauté.

    Thinly slice the red onion (cut in half and place cut side down. Slice WITH the grain...not in to half-moon rounds, but into julienne strips from the top to the bottom of the onion).

    Chop the green onions into ½ inch long pieces, both white and green parts.

    Slice the tomatoes into about 6-8 wedges each.


    You’re going to cook everything in 2 batches. You can mentally divide everything or actually separate into 2 piles. Set a 9 x 13 baking dish near the stove to catch the first batch when it’s done.

    Use a large, heavy bottom pan, ideally with shallow sides - so a sauté pan, large cast iron skillet, or even a good wok if you have one.

    Heat the pan over high heat and add 2 Tablespoons of canola oil to the pan. When it’s hot and shimmery, add ½ of the beef in a single layer. Cook about 3 minutes without moving it around! This will allow a crust to form on the bottom. Flip the cubes and cook 1 minute on the second side. Carefully pour off any excess grease.

    To the beef in the pan, add ½ of each of the following: the red onion, green onion, tomatoes and garlic - and cook about 60 seconds, stirring as needed. Add ½ of the soy sauce mixture, stir and shake the pan to coat the beef.

    Finally, add ½ the butter, and shake the pan to distribute evenly and melt.

    Transfer beef and all of the sauce to the casserole dish.

  • 7. REPEAT

    Wipe the pan clean if there are any brown bits. Do it again! Start over high heat with the remaining oil. Add and cook the beef. Then the remaining onions, garlic, and tomatoes, and cook 60 seconds. Add the remaining sauce and cook. Then add the rest of the butter.

    This time, add the first batch back to the pan to warm through for 1 minute and remove from the heat.

  • 8. SERVING

    Arrange the arugula on a platter or plates, and top with the beef and onions. Pour sauce over top. Serve with rice on the side and garnish with the lime wedges.

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    be sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce
  • PALEO:
    use Braggs instead of soy sauce. If you don’t do tomatoes you can omit them. We have a squash version of this dish too and it would be nice to add some cubes of roasted squash or cauliflower florets to the beef. Omit rice. Omit sugar or sub maple syrup
  • RICE:
    if you don’t want to make rice again, serve with noodles or quinoa. Or serve the beef over a bed of roasted vegetables
  • TRI TIP:
    the dish is originally made with filet mignon tips, but hanger steak, chateaubriand, and new york strip all work well
  • BEEF:
    eating less beef is good on many fronts. Shaking Chicken or Pork definitely work. Use cubes of skinless breast meat or a pork tenderloin. Just follow along using the same method
  • MIRIN:
    if you can’t find mirin in the vinegar or Asian food aisle (or try online) or don’t want to buy it, substitute ¼ cup sherry vinegar or rice vinegar combined with 1 teaspoon honey

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Keep some squash outside of the sauce if you don’t have “sauce loving kids” and try it as a dip. Or try with some thicker, hoisin sauce for a dip
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

For Toddlers

  • Fork mash the squash to serve toddlers
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

For Choosy Eaters

  • Reserve a few bits of beef before adding the sauce and slice for them. Try adding the cubes on skewers for a fun presentation
  • Serve with plain rice and fruit

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Mix up the soy sauce mixture
  2. Make the rice
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