Vietnamese Wok-Seared Beef on Watercress Salad

Vietnamese Wok-Seared Beef on Watercress Salad

This fresh and healthy Vietnamese wok-seared beef on watercress (Thit bo xao w/ cải salad xoong) is a commonly popular beef dish usually eaten with white rice. This traditional Vietnamese peppery, salty, sweet and tangy watercress beef salad is hearty enough to be the focal point of a meal.

The watercress salad comes together quickly, so make sure the ingredients are prepped and rice is cooked before you start the stir-fry. You can leave the watercress as sprigs or cut it into bite size.

Serves 4 with white rice

Main ingredients:

1 1/4 pound tri-tip (bottom sirloin/culotte cut) steaks

½ yellow onion, sliced

3 sticks of green onions, sliced 1 inch apart

1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons regular soy sauce

3 teaspoons of olive oil

Watercress and dressing ingredients:

2 tablespoon canola or peanut oil

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 or 2 pinches kosher salt

3 to 5 cracks black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar or lime juice

2 tablespoons water


4 cups watercress (Wash, Clean and Dry thoroughly)

½ red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

1 medium ripened tomato, sliced

Dipping sauce ingredient: Home-made fish sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce

¼ cup of warm water

2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce



Marinade beef:

1. Trim excess fat from the steaks and then cut each into 3/4-inch cubes or thinly strips. In a bowl, combine the pepper, sugar, 1 minced garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add the beef and toss well to coat. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Watercress and Dressing:

1. Thoroughly wash, dry watercress and arrange on a large plate or platter.

2. For the dressing, put the red onion slices in a mesh strainer and rinse under water for about 10 seconds to reduce some of the harshness.

3. In large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, canola or peanut oil and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

4. Add red onion slices and set dressing aside. Hold off on tossing with watercress until ready to serve.

5. Thinly slice tomato and set aside.

Cooking Beef:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.
  2. Add 1 minced garlic, sear until golden brown.
  3. Add the marinated beef and let the beef sear for about 1-2 minute, before shaking the wok or skillet to sear another side.
  4. Add the yellow onion and the green onions slices, toss together with beef for 1 minute.
  5. Cook the beef and onion for about 3-4 minutes total, until nicely medium rare and set aside.

Toss the watercress together with dressing and transfer onto a platter or serving dish. Garnish tomatoes slices on top of watercress. Gently add the cooked beef on top of the tomato slices and watercress.

Serve immediately with lots of rice and dipping fish sauce on the side. Enjoy!


Thank you for trying AWM Recipes. Your voice is important to us. If you have recipes you like to share, please feel free to contact us at