Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

While The Astronomer desires nothing more than a hunk of grilled lemongrass pork atop his bún (vermicelli rice noodles), I’ve got a soft spot for stir-fried steak, a dinnertime staple at my house growing up. Pork is almost always my protein of choice, but beef gets a slight edge here for its intrinsic juiciness, ease of preparation, and sweet onion companions.  The way the meat’s drippings mingle with the marinade and the nước chấm (Vietnamese dipping sauce) gets me every time. You bet your boots I pick up my bowl and slurp up every last drop.

To ensure that the beef is cooked through and the onions are caramelized evenly, I prefer to prepare this dish in smaller batches. The beef to onion ratio can be altered depending on personal preferences. My family tends to go heavy on the onions, about 1.5 onions for every 1 pound of meat. Any uncooked meat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and in the freezer for a few months.

While I love thịt bò xào hành tây best served over vermicelli rice noodles with fresh herbs, lettuce, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon, toasted peanuts, scallion oil, and ladles of nước chấm, it also tastes stupendous served simply over steamed jasmine rice.

  • 4 pounds flank steak, thinly sliced approximately 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 large shallots, finely minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup finely minced lemongrass
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus additional for stir frying
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, plus additional for stir frying
  • 3  tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for stir frying
  • 6 medium onions, sliced into “half moons” approximately 1/3 inch thick

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

Combine all ingredients from flank steak through vegetable oil in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the mixture to make sure that the marinade is evenly distributed and coats every slice of meat. Allow the meat to soak in the marinade overnight or for up to 24 hours.

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

In a large wok or non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onions along with a light sprinkling of salt, and saute until desired doneness is achieved, about 5 to 10 minutes. Some people may prefer onions with a little bite, but I like mine cooked through and lightly caramelized.

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

Add meat and saute until cooked through, about 2 minutes. If the meat tastes under-seasoned at this point, add in a few splashes of fish sauce. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

Serve thịt bò Xào hành tây simply over steamed jasmine rice or a little more extravagantly over vermicelli rice noodles with all the fixings.

Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions

Serves 2 people for one week or 8 to 10 people in one sitting.

[For Printable Recipe Click Here]

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4 Responses to “Thịt Bò Xào Hành Tây – Vietnamese Stir-Fried Beef with Onions”


  • This looks so yummy! Thanks for the recipe & reminder! We had a bunch of bun noodles left from Bun Rieu and this is the perfect way to use them!

  • I might actually make this childhood-favorite bowl of noodle food … one day. Soon.

  • I agree with you. Pork is my favourite meat, but this is one of my favourite dishes. I would order it regularly in Vietnam, and it was never bad!

  • This same dish (with slightly less onions)is usually called Bun Bo Xao Xa in most restaurants and homes. Funny to see this recipe here since we are making the same thing at home for dinner tonight. I admit to using a bit of oyster sauce in my marinade as well to amp up the flavors… :)

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