Black Pepper Beef

This dish isn’t exactly like the traditional Chinese Black Pepper Beef with the stir fry onions and sometimes bell peppers.  At first glance, it appears to look more like the Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac (Shaking Beef) because the beef is cubed and not sliced and is served with a watercress salad.  It’s sort of a hybrid of the two but super easy to put together for a quick meal.  What’s most important is the cut of beef you use which should always be tender filet, otherwise you’ll be chewing for days.

I like to use Lee Kum Kee’s Black Pepper Sauce marinade – it’s got peppercorn in it and tastes close to the flavors you’ll find in Chinese restaurants.  I would normally stir fry yellow onions in with the beef but with the watercress salad, I chose to keep the onions sweet, separate and crunchy.

One of these coming weeks I’ll post recipes for the true black pepper beef and bo luc lac… for now, here’s the hybrid:


For beef:

  • 1-1/2 pound beef fillet steak (cut into cubes or sliced if preferred)
  • 1 large white onion – sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 3 tbsp of black pepper sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee’s)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp of sugar

For watercress:

  • 2 bundles of watercress
  • ½ cup of rice vinegar
  • ½ cup of sesame oil
  • ½ tbsp of sugar or 1 tbsp of corn syrup
  • salt to taste

Preparation Instructions:Cut beef tenderloin into thin slices or cubes, whichever you prefer.  I like mine cubed sort of like the Vietnamese Bo Luc Lac because I like my beef medium rare.  Sliced beef cooks too fast.  Combine beef, sesame oil, sugar, and black pepper sauce in a bowl and stir well. Cover, marinate for several hours or refrigerate overnight. Cut and wash watercress and set aside to drain.  In the meantime, make the dressing for the watercress.  Combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar into a bowl and stir well.  Toss the  watercress with the dressing and set aside. To cook, heat up a pan with some olive oil and stir-fry steak the steak until it’s plumped up and bouncy.  Prepare a plate with the watercress, tomatoes and onions – when the beef is cooked to your liking, transfer to plate onto the onions.  Served hot with steamed rice or if you’re counting your carbs, just have the beef and watercress as a salad.