Vietnamese Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef

February 24, 2016

Vietnamese Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef

A couple of weeks ago, when the polar vortex — something that ought to be the name of a new breath mint, but is unfortunately anything but — descended upon us with its mighty fury, I made a Vietnamese dish for the first time in my life.
I know that the two events are totally unrelated and that anyone smarter than myself would bake something bubbly when the cold temperatures hit.
But that’s just not the way my brain works.
My thought process is so erratic and fragmented when it comes to cooking. It's a miracle that I can run an (almost successful) food blog.

Vietnamese Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef

Anyways, I love Vietnamese, but never cook it.
I am the proud owner of all of Charles Phan cookbooks (i.e,. Vietnamese Homecooking and The Slanted Door), that I have read cover to cover, like any real food dork would do.
Not kidding. I read cookbooks cover to cover like novels. No wonder my dreams are filled with food and I wake up starving every morning.
Back to my point: even though I love Vietnamese cuisine, this is my very first time cooking Vietnamese.
I guess all I needed was a polar vortex to make the jump.

Vietnamese Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef

My first Vietnamese cuisine attempt: Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef (also known as Thit Bo Boc Me Nuong Chao).
A super simple and quick recipe for some awesome tasting beef.
It’s incredible how few basic ingredients can make beef taste so awesome.
I have to tell you right now though: its primary saltiness comes from the fish sauce — which is not going to smell awesome when you give the bottle a sniff, but please don’t skip it.
It’s the fish sauce that makes the meat tender, fragrant, and so very delicious. YUM!

Vietnamese Pan-Grilled Sesame Beef (Thit Bo Boc Me Nuong Chao)                       Print this recipe!

Serves 4

1 lb / 453 gr beef (flank steak), sliced into ½-inch bite-size stripes
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce (I used Red Boat)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup sesame seeds (I used black and white sesame seeds)


In a large bowl combine ginger, garlic, fish sauce, oil, and ground black pepper.
Add beef and toss to coat.
Let marinate for at least 20 minutes (one hour best).
Place sesame seeds in a large Ziploc bag (or other resealable bag) add beef slices and gently shake to coat evenly.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
When it’s very hot, add the beef in batches and grill on both sides very quickly until it’s just cooked.
Serve with chili sauce (I used Sriracha)

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 299 calories, 16 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 34 grams of protein.


  1. Mmm my dad made this all the time for me when I was growing up. Only after I've left the house for years, has he started making it with filet mignon :P looks great, Mike!

    1. Making it with filet mignon must be amazing. I need to try it asap!

  2. I was expecting a whole big list of ingredients and instruction steps. Love the simplicity of this recipe. I I love how your mind works in a blizzard :)

    1. I know right? Apparently blizzards work the magic with my brain ;)

  3. Love Vietnamese cuisine, haven't cooked much at home myself... This recipe is very interesting, never thought of coating beef with sesame seeds - genius!

    (btw I just blogged on your broccoli mushroom casserole... FINALLY!) ;-)

    1. I just saw your post on your blog: AMAZING!

  4. Hi Mike, great recipe, love Vietnamese food! Have a great week-end!

  5. Haha - that's why I stopped reading Cookbooks before I went to bed, but, I'm still dreaming of food and wake up starving, too! Maybe it's cos I visit food blogs and ruminate on the delicious looking eats like this Vietnamese pan grilled sesame beef that's the real reason...hmmm....
    Fantastic first attempt, my friend!

  6. This looks outstanding and yay to polar vortexes for assisting in your Vietnamese Sesame Beef dinner here. I love flank and this looks killer.

    1. "Yay to polar vortex", that might be a first :D