This easy Vietnamese-style stir fry goes from kitchen to table in 30 minutes and can be made with various meats including lamb, flank steak or pork.

Vietnamese Garlic and Black Pepper Stir Fry

Inspired by the flavors of Vietnamese cuisine, this easy, versatile stir-fry is one of our favorite quick dinners because can be made with your choice of boneless lamb, beef or pork and a favorite fresh veggie.

Pictured here is boneless lamb with red bell pepper, but we’ve also tried:

  • Beef flank steak with green beans
  • Boneless pork loin chops with snow peas

Be sure to read our recipe notes about these variations.

How to Make this Easy Vietnamese-Style Stir-Fry

In addition to having a flexible ingredient list, this recipe is super easy to prepare.

Just thinly slice whichever meat you choose and toss it together with minced garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, black pepper and a little oil and let it marinate while you steam some rice.

Once the rice is cooked, you’re ready to finish up your stir-fry.

Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, add your veggies (in this case onions and red bell pepper), stir-fry until crisp-tender, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the wok to the stove, add your meat and stir-fry to desired doneness.

Add the veggies back for half a minute, squeeze a little fresh lime juice over top, toss in a handful of cilantro and you’re ready to serve!

Looking for a good source for lamb?

If you like lamb but your local markets don’t carry a variety of cuts on a regular basis, you might want to consider a mail order source.

We often shop with D’Artagnan Foods and love their boneless Australian lamb loins for this dish.

D’Artagnan offers both 100% grass fed Australian lamb and domestic, pasture-raised lamb. They have a wide variety of other meats as well, all of which are naturally raised on small farms using humane farming practices.

Vietnamese Garlic and Black Pepper Stir Fry

Vietnamese Garlic and Black Pepper Stir Fry

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This easy Vietnamese-style stir fry goes from kitchen to table in 30 minutes and can be made with various meats including lamb, flank steak or pork.


  • 3/4 lb boneless lamb, beef flank steak or pork loin chops (see notes)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, see notes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thin slices onion, halved and separated
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 4 servings steamed white rice


  • Trim any excess fat from your meat, cut it into thin slices (across the grain) and transfer to a shallow bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 tablespoon of lime juice until blended. Stir in the minced garlic and drizzle over the meat.
  • Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper and combine to coat the meat in the marinade. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes (this is a good time to cook your rice).
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Return the pan to the stove, add the meat and stir-fry until no longer pink on the outside, 2 minutes. Return the veggies to the pan and stir-fry for 30 seconds longer.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired, then drizzle with the remaining lime juice and add the cilantro, reserving a few leaves for garnish.
  • Combine quickly and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the reserved cilantro and a few grinds of black pepper.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Tips for recipe variations: No matter what type of meat you choose you’ll want to trim any excess fat and slice it thinly across the grain. Not only do the thin slices ensure quick, even cooking, they provide more surface area for the marinade to adhere to.
It should only take about 3 minutes to stir-fry this dish from start to finish, so be sure not to leave it unattended or you’ll overcook your meat.
If you read through the notes above the recipe, you’ll know we recommend fresh green beans and snow peas as alternatives to the red bell pepper in this recipe.
If you use green beans they’ll need just a tiny bit of extra cooking time. Cut them on the diagonal into 1-1/2-inch pieces and start stir-frying them about 30 seconds before the onion.
For snow peas you can simply follow the directions as written.
Calories: 690kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 42g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 132mg, Sodium: 634mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g
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