Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach

"Or, "Rau Muong Xao Voi Thit Bo." In Vietnam, the spinach used would be "rau muong" or "water spinach." Here in the states, though, I've made it with sautéed beef and regular spinach (although if you can find actual rau muong, that much the better). Delicious! This recipe is adapted from the "Rau Muong Xao" recipe available here on Zaar (you can read my review, there) and throughout the internet. :)"
photo by Julesong photo by Julesong
photo by Julesong
Ready In:


  • 6 -8 ounces beef or 6 -8 ounces buffalo rump roast
  • 1 12 cups chopped sweet yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned and dried (about 4 cups worth; or "rau muong" instead of spinach)
  • 3 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
  • hot cooked jasmine rice, for serving


  • Trim excess fat from meat and slice thinly (which is easier when meat is slightly frozen) against the grain.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion, sliced meat, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, 2 teaspoons of the fish sauce, and the cornstarch; stir well to coat and set aside to marinate (the cornstarch tenderizes and makes the meat "velvety").
  • Over high temperature, heat a large skillet or wok and - when the skillet is very hot - add the oil ("hot wok, cold oil, food won't stick"); add the marinated meat mixture and sauté until the meat is cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove cooked mixture from skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan and stir fry the minced garlic for 1 minute.
  • Add spinach leaves and stir fry for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add remaining 4 teaspoons fish sauce and tomato, and stir fry 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked meat mixture and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the skillet, combine well, and cook until heated through and sauce comes to desired consistency (the cornstarch will effect the consistency - you can add a bit of water, broth, or sherry if it becomes thicker than you'd like).
  • Serve immediately with hot cooked jasmine rice.
  • Note: I've been told that "the recipe is not exactly Vietnamese, since we actually use minced pork to stir fry water spinach; beef is always more expensive than pork at home - the good cuts are often on their own, or cooked with minimal side ingredients; other cuts go into stews and soups" so feel free to try this with pork, too!
  • Also, when I first made this recipe I really wasn't expecting too much from it - it came out much tastier than I expected, an absolute keeper (especially according to my husband)!

Questions & Replies

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  1. Paguma
    I liked the flavour and it was very easy to make. I will say however that the combination of ingredients does not make the most attractive looking dish. Thankfully it tastes much better than it looks.
  2. nevermind
    i liked it and thought it made a beautiful dish. i used sirloin and only cooked it for two minutes (at my bf's behest) before adding the rest of the ingredients in an electric skillet. my bf, Persnickety Fussbudget, said it tasted "blander than he expected" so i handed him the sriracha. *eyeroll* next time i'll try pork. :)
  3. Kiersten Phae
    Delish! I love finding easy Viet recipes to surprise my hubby with. His family usually teaches me recipes, so when I find something they haven't taught me it's a great treat for hubby. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Anne La Quebecoise
    Delicious! I eat very little meat (both because I am usually not very fond of its taste and texture and for environmental concerns), but I really enjoyed this dish and I know I'll crave it in the future and will have to make it again! I used a mix of beef and pork meat - both tasted great. I found it unnecessary to add more oil in step 5, since the pork (filet) had "left" enough fat for sautéing the veggies. Served it with jasmine rice. Thanks for a *sigh* keeper!
  5. Steingrim
    We served this with sauteed mushrooms instead of rice. It is a recipe we will be making many times in the future! Excellent flavor.


  1. Steingrim
    We served this with sauteed mushrooms instead of rice. It is a recipe we will be making many times in the future! Excellent flavor.


<p>It's simply this: I love to cook! :) <br /><br />I've been hanging out on the internet since the early days and have collected loads of recipes. I've tried to keep the best of them (and often the more unusual) and look forward to sharing them with you, here. <br /><br />I am proud to say that I have several family members who are also on RecipeZaar! <br /><br />My husband, here as <a href=>Steingrim</a>, is an excellent cook. He rarely uses recipes, though, so often after he's made dinner I sit down at the computer and talk him through how he made the dishes so that I can get it down on paper. Some of these recipes are in his account, some of them in mine - he rarely uses his account, though, so we'll probably usually post them to mine in the future. <br /><br />My sister <a href=>Cathy is here as cxstitcher</a> and <a href=>my mom is Juliesmom</a> - say hi to them, eh? <br /><br />Our <a href=>friend Darrell is here as Uncle Dobo</a>, too! I've been typing in his recipes for him and entering them on R'Zaar. We're hoping that his sisters will soon show up with their own accounts, as well. :) <br /><br />I collect cookbooks (to slow myself down I've limited myself to purchasing them at thrift stores, although I occasionally buy an especially good one at full price), and - yes, I admit it - I love FoodTV. My favorite chefs on the Food Network are Alton Brown, Rachel Ray, Mario Batali, and Giada De Laurentiis. I'm not fond over fakey, over-enthusiastic performance chefs... Emeril drives me up the wall. I appreciate honesty. Of non-celebrity chefs, I've gotta say that that the greatest influences on my cooking have been my mother, Julia Child, and my cooking instructor Chef Gabriel Claycamp at Seattle's Culinary Communion. <br /><br />In the last couple of years I've been typing up all the recipes my grandparents and my mother collected over the years, and am posting them here. Some of them are quite nostalgic and are higher in fat and processed ingredients than recipes I normally collect, but it's really neat to see the different kinds of foods they were interested in... to see them either typewritten oh-so-carefully by my grandfather, in my grandmother's spidery handwriting, or - in some cases - written by my mother years ago in fountain pen ink. It's like time travel. <br /><br />Cooking peeve: food/cooking snobbery. <br /><br />Regarding my black and white icon (which may or may not be the one I'm currently using): it the sea-dragon tattoo that is on the inside of my right ankle. It's also my personal logo.</p>
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