Luke Nguyen's quick and easy recipe for a beautifully fresh Vietnamese salad, with peppery watercress, stir-fried garlicky beef, and a lovely vinaigrette dressing - garnished with as much chilli as you like.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (37 votes)


1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, thinly sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp garlic, finely diced
300 g lean beef, finely sliced
pinch salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp nuoc mam cham
1 chilli, sliced, to garnish

Vinaigrette dressing
100 ml white vinegar
2 tsp garlic oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tbsp sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the vinaigrette, place the vinegar, garlic oil and sugar in a bowl and mix well.

In a mixing bowl, add watercress, onion and tomato, and dress with vinaigrette. Set aside.

In a hot wok or pan, add oil and garlic, and cook until fragrant.

Turn heat to high. Add the beef and stir-fry for 1 minute until browned, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the beef to the salad, then dress with nuoc cham. Mix well, then transfer to a plate and garnish with chilli.