This classic Chinese beef and broccoli recipe is easy to make at home. A stir fry with tender beef and fresh broccoli in a delicious savory sauce. If you're like me, this dish will become a regular favorite in your repertoire.
The Chinese Invented Stir Frying
In developing this recipe, I turned to my favorite Chinese food expert and cookbook author Barbara Tropp. Her recipes are always meticulously crafted and never disappoint. I love how she digs deep into cooking history and technique. Here's her explanation of how stir-frying came to be:
Stir-frying originated in China during the Ming Dynasty, say's Tropp. It was "the product of a labor-rich, fuel-poor country...lots of hands ready to chop...few Chinese twigs or lumps of coal available to burn...a never-ending quantity of oil capable of being heated to hellishly hot degrees, and one arrives at stir-frying."
High heat is crucial for the initial searing and sealing-in of flavor. Tropp says to Listen for the "merry sizzle" to tell you if the heat is high enough. Listening to the sizzle and responding to it and manipulating the heat is the essence of the "stir-fry dance."
How to make an excellent Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
The beauty of a great stir-fry is that you can get a delicious, nutritious dinner on the table fast. The beef can be sliced and marinated up to a 24 hours ahead.
- Marinate the Beef: The marinade is just 4 ingredients, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and peanut oil. Slice the beef and seal it in a bag with the marinade and leave it in the fridge to marinate for at least a half hour or up to 24 hours.
- Make the Sauce: The delicious 5-ingredient sauce is a mixture of rice wine, brown sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.
- Stir-Fry: Get your wok or skillet hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the broccoli for a minute. Add rice wine and a few tablespoons of water to the pot, cover it, and let the broccoli steam for 3-4 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the wok and stir fry the onions, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. Then add the marinated beef and stir-fry until almost all the pink color is gone. Add the broccoli back, pour in the sauce, and continue to cook for another minute or so, until the beef is fully cooked and everything is heated through.
- Serve: Transfer the stir-fry to a large platter and serve immediately.
You know how certain foods evoke memories? Well this beef and broccoli stir-fry brings me right back to my early 20's when I was living alone on the upper West Side of Manhattan. I rarely cooked, preferring to grab a bite after work with friends or bring something in. But when I did make dinner, it was almost always a stir-fry. I had an old wok - inherited from my mom's kitchen. My stir-fries were completely haphazard. The recipe was: Chop up a bunch of stuff and throw it in the wok with a little oil. Finish with soy sauce. And it wasn't half bad!
It's funny to reflect on that time and compare it to how discerning (picky? crazy?) I am now, spending days perfecting this recipe. Though I must say the effort has paid off. I love this dish, with tender flavorful beef and bright fresh broccoli, everything drenched in a beautiful brown sauce with deep rich umami flavors.
Chinese beef and broccoli stir fry is a favorite Chinese restaurant classic that's easy to make at home. Homemade Chinese takeout is great. It's always fresh tasting and lighter on the oil.
More homemade better-than-takeout Recipes
- Chinese Orange Chicken
- Chinese Fun Noodles with Beef
- Moo Shu Pork Lettuce Wraps
- 7 flavor Precious Chicken
- Chinese Ham and Egg Fried Rice
Here's the Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe. If you try this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print