Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef

30 mins Cook
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Copy of NomNom Recipes 1 73

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef embodies everything we cherish in Vietnamese cuisine! Tender shreds of beef coated in a lemongrass-infused sauce, followed by a golden pan-frying stage that brings forth a delightful symphony of savory, sweet, and garlicky flavors. Yet, let’s admit it – it’s those irresistible, crispy golden edges that truly steal the spotlight!

Beef Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef

This swift recipe initially emerged as a solution for repurposing leftover cooked beef, often found after creating a stock. So, while I’ve employed repurposed beef in this rendition, rest assured, crafting it from the ground up is equally achievable!

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef emerged as a clever solution to utilize the surplus cooked brisket that had been used to craft the Pho broth. In the lead-up to unveiling the recipe, I found myself creating it multiple times and unintentionally amassing a substantial collection of cooked brisket within my freezer.

Dispensing Pho take-home packs was a breeze.

However, bestowing “remarkably tender cooked brisket, almost effortlessly shreddable but somewhat drained of its inherent flavor due to its infusion into the broth” proved to be a less straightforward endeavor. Admittedly, this description doesn’t exactly spark culinary enthusiasm!

So, what’s the remedy? Inject an abundance of vibrant Vietnamese flavors, then elevate it to a new level of deliciousness through pan-frying, thus conjuring those irresistible, crispy golden edges!


The Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef recipe is perfectly suited for repurposing leftover beef, which might have been delicately removed from meaty bones during the broth-making process. Likewise, it harmoniously embraces sizable cuts of meat like brisket, often utilized in dishes such as Pho, where the beef has undergone prolonged simmering, allowing its rich essence to meld with the broth.

Furthermore, this recipe is highly adaptable and can accommodate various forms of cooked beef. Whether it’s tender shreds or larger portions, the crucial aspect is that the beef possesses a relatively neutral or Asian-infused flavor profile. This ensures the Lemongrass Sauce’s exquisite flavors harmonize rather than clash with the existing meat essence.


Simply allow raw brisket or chuck to gently simmer for a duration of 2.5 to 3 hours, accompanied by simple enhancements like onion and garlic, until it attains a desirable shreddable consistency. The objective during the braising phase is not to infuse flavor into the beef, as this role is fulfilled by the flavorful Lemongrass Marinade. However, by incorporating foundational flavors into the braising liquid, you create an opportunity to repurpose the resulting broth for alternative applications, including any recipe that requires the essence of beef broth.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Marinade

The infusion of flavor into the beef hinges on my trusted “go-to” Vietnamese marinade recipe. This versatile blend is my secret weapon, employed for marinating whole chicken pieces (think thighs, breasts, wings, drumsticks), which I either serve as is or incorporate into Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowls. The marinade works wonders on an array of ingredients – chicken wings, pork chops, tofu (yes, truly!), or even prawns/shrimp (take a stab at the Vietnamese Shrimp Salad).

The beauty of this marinade lies in its adaptability and its inherent simplicity, comprised of:

  • Lemongrass – finely chopped fresh or conveniently available as lazy paste
  • Garlic – a generous amount
  • Sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime – a blend that captures the quintessential Asian balance of sweetness, savory notes, and a touch of tanginess

When served straight from the stove, you’ll likely find that a spritz of lime provides the perfect finishing touch. For those seeking an extra punch, a generous dollop of chili sauce or paste can certainly add some oomph.

But wait, there’s more! To truly indulge, whip up some Nuoc Cham, the chili-garlic-fish sauce-lime concoction that graces nearly every dish in Vietnam – no exaggeration! Nuoc Cham comes in various renditions, ranging from lighter versions suitable for soupy dishes like Bun Cha (Vietnamese Meatballs) or Vietnamese Chicken Salad, to more robust blends crafted for dipping Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls.

For this Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken recipe, the Nuoc Cham dipping sauce is the ideal accompaniment, perfectly suited for the Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef. Should you decide to whip up this Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef to utilize the residual beef post-Pho preparation, you’ll be pleased to note that the toppings and side components echo the same ingredients. Lime wedges, a generous heap of bean sprouts, an assortment of fresh herbs (coriander/cilantro works like a charm, Thai basil adds its own flair, and mint offers a delightful twist – or a blend of these), and a dash of fresh chili if you’re up for the heat. To add an extra layer of allure, a sprinkle of peanuts does the trick.

And there you have it.

It’s almost hard to believe that this delightful concoction emerges from the remnants of scrappy beef leftovers used for stock, isn’t it?

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef

Caramelised Vietnamese Shredded Beef embodies everything we cherish in Vietnamese cuisine! Tender shreds of beef coated in a lemongrass-infused sauce, followed by a golden pan-frying stage that brings forth a delightful symphony of savory, sweet, and garlicky flavors. Yet, let's admit it – it's those irresistible, crispy golden edges that truly steal the spotlight!
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
30 mins
total time
40 mins



  • 500g / 1lb (3 cups) leftover cooked brisket or other beef , shredded or chopped (Note 1)

  • 1 - 2 tbsp oil , for cooking


  • 2 garlic cloves , minced

  • 2 tbsp lime juice

  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce , light or all purpose

  • 2.5 tbsp (packed) brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp lemongrass paste (Note 2)


  • Rice or noodles

  • Lime wedges OR Nuoc Cham (Note 3)

  • Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and/or finely sliced green onions

  • Finely sliced red chilli, sliced cucumber, crushed peanuts*


Combine the Marinade ingredients within a bowl.
Incorporate the shredded beef into the mixture, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
Heat oil within a generously sized skillet set over high heat. Introduce approximately half of the beef, distributing it to form a single layer.
Leave it be until the underside achieves a captivating golden hue (around 1 minute). Then, execute a flip to expose the other side, briefly cooking it (roughly 30 seconds) to warm through and attain a gentle hint of golden coloring. Subsequently, remove the beef.
Proceed with the same process for the remaining beef.
Serve the prepared beef over a bed of rice, opting for either limes or Nuoc Cham as your chosen sauce. Enhance the presentation with a selection of your favorite garnishes (for the photos, I incorporated all of them!).


Utilize leftover cooked beef – Opt for any leftover cooked beef that hasn't been excessively imbued with non-Asian flavors. I employed brisket obtained from Pho. In case the leftover meat is cold, proceed to reheat it using your chosen method (my go-to is the microwave), followed by shredding or chopping. To craft it from scratch, follow this procedure: EASY SHREDDED BRISKET Place 800g/1.6lb brisket into a pot along with 2 smashed garlic cloves, 3 slices of ginger, and 1 onion quartered. Add just enough water to cover the brisket. Lid it and let it simmer for 3 hours (or if using a slow cooker, let it sit on low for 10 hours; if pressure cooking, set it to 1 hour 20 minutes on high). Once the brisket becomes effortlessly shreddable, proceed as outlined in this recipe (the weight should shrink to approximately 500g/1lb). Retain the braising liquid for use as broth in various Asian-inspired recipes. If needed, reduce it down until you achieve the desired potency (expect around 2 to 3 cups from this quantity of brisket). Experiment with this Chinese Noodle Soup, Wonton Soup, Hot and Sour Soup, or infuse some of the Pho recipe's spices for a simple Pho! Alternatively, swap out water with this brisket-based broth in any Stir Fry or Stir Fried Noodles recipe to introduce an extra layer of delectability. Lemongrass paste – I opt for this for sheer convenience, but you can also go for 1 sizeable lemongrass stalk, minced exceedingly finely. Sauce – Fresh off the pan, the dish is so succulent that a mere drizzle of lemon juice is all you need as a sauce. However, if you're inclined to drench your bowl's contents in a saucy indulgence, reach for Nuoc Cham – the garlic-chili-lime-fish sauce concoction that graces virtually every dish in Vietnamese cuisine! This Nuoc Cham sauce is perfect for the Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Bowl recipe. Yields 3 to 4 servings as a complete meal alongside rice and the accompanying sides showcased. Adjust the recipe quantities based on the volume of beef you have at your disposal (simply click/hover on Servings and slide).
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