Beef and broccoli stir-fry is a Chinese dish that can satisfy almost every palate.
It is a Chinese food that is being reinterpreted to suit local tastes around the world.
Why do I make such an assumption? First, beef is not the most common meat for the Chinese. Pork and chicken are always more readily available in any market whenever there is a huge Chinese population. Also, there are many Chinese who do not eat beef due to religious reasons.
Secondly, gai lan, a broccoli variation, is much more popular among the Chinese. Gai lan is leafy and has a large stem, which tastes quite different from broccoli. The Chinese love it.
Regardless of the origin, beef and broccoli stir-fry is an incredible dish. The broccoli florets soak up the stir-fry sauce, making it exceptionally delicious. Broccoli is the perfect match with beef as it is not only tasty but a complete meal with protein and fiber.
How to prepare the easy beef and broccoli stir-fry
This beef and broccoli stir-fry can be completed in thirty minutes, which is an ideal quick and easy meal.
Below is my version of the beef and broccoli stir-fry from the perspective of a Malaysian Chinese. Feel free to make any modifications based on the availability of the ingredients and your preference.
1. Choose the right cut of beef
Only the tender beef cuts are suitable for stir-frying because it is a quick cooking process. It does not have the luxury of simmering the meat for a long time for it to break down slowly.
Sirloin steak and tenderloin are the best cuts for stir-frying. Other less expensive cuts, such as skirt steak, topside, or flank steak, can be used if sliced thinly.
2. Cut the beef into thin slices
I like to slice the beef when it is in a half-frozen state. The beef is firmer when sliced, and the knife is less likely to slide away from it. Therefore, it is very easy to slice the beef to paper-thin.
I prefer to cut the beef into five cm wide strips, then slice across the grain. Any smaller size does not look good because the slices of beef will shrink after stir-frying.
3. Marinate the beef
Marinate the slices of beef with light soy sauce, some cooking oil, and some cornstarch for about 10 to 15 minutes. The light soy sauce adds flavor to the beef, and cornstarch will protect the beef from burning too quickly by the direct heat from the pan.
4. Cut the broccoli into florets
Cut the broccoli into florets. You may want to half the large florets so they will not be too big compared to the beef.
Once you have done that, you can blanch the broccoli florets or leave it as it is.
Some debris will drop off when you cut them into florets if the broccoli is not very fresh. If so, I suggest blanching the broccoli florets in boiling water for two minutes. Remove the broccoli florets from the water with tongs and let the small pieces and the debris remain in the water. The florets will look clean, and the debris from the broccoli will not stick to the beef slices, which makes it less appealing.
However, if the broccoli is fresh, you can skip the blanching process and proceed to stir-frying.
5. How to constitute the best beef and broccoli stir-fry sauce
I usually prepare the stir-fry sauce in advance to keep things flowing at stir-fry time. In a small bowl, the sauce combines light soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, wine, sesame oil, and ground white pepper.
If you have not got the stir-fry sauce ready and start searching for the individual ingredients for the sauce during the process, you may tend to overcook the beef and the broccoli.
6. Pan-fry the beef slices
Pan-fried the beef slices with some cooking oil. You can reduce the amount of oil required by using a non-stick pan. Stir-frying the beef with a wok will need more oil.
Spread the beef slices into a single layer and shear it for about a minute on both sides until it turns golden brown. The process takes only two minutes over medium heat. Do not overcook the beef. Once it is done, remove the beef from the pan.
7. Saute the garlic and ginger
Saute the coarsely chopped fresh ginger and garlic over medium heat with some oil. Add some green onions sections if you like the taste.
You may choose to chop the garlic cloves coarsely or just bashed it. I do not suggest mincing the garlic finally because it can burn quickly.
8. Stir-fry the broccoli
Next, add the broccoli florets to the pan or a large skillet. If you have blanched the broccoli earlier, you may only need to stir-fry it for one to two minutes until it becomes tender-crisp. If you choose to stir-fry the raw broccoli directly, add a small amount of water to stir-fry. You need about four minutes of stir-frying to cook through the broccoli.
9. Add the sauce and stir-fry the beef over high heat
Now, it comes to the final step. Return the browned beef slices to the pan. Stir-fry over medium-high heat for 20 seconds. Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Add a splash of sesame oil or garnish with white sesame seeds. It is best to serve with white rice.
More tips on how to prepare the beef and broccoli stir-fry
- You can add some water at the final stage if you prefer it to be saucier. Increase the cornflour slurry to achieve the desired thickness of the sauce.
- If you are choosing a less expensive cut of beef, add a teaspoon of baking soda to marinate the beef. Baking soda helps to tenderize the beef.
- You can also blanch the broccoli and prepare the stir-fry sauce in advance.
- Omit the Shaoxing wine if you are a non-alcoholic.
- Add some red pepper flakes during stir-frying for a spicy version.
Can I use other vegetables and chicken instead of beef?
You can use this stir-fried beef and broccoli recipe to create other variations.
Chicken breast or thigh meat is a popular substitute for beef. The preparation methods are almost identical, except you can pan-fry or stir-fry the chicken longer as there is no worry about overcooking the chicken. You must also marinate the chicken for half an hour since you can cut the pieces thicker than the beef.
If you like the combination of ginger and scallion, refer to this blog’s ginger and scallion stir-fry recipe. Switch up the recipe with some additional broccoli.
Other suitable vegetables are gai lan (Chinese kale / Chinese broccoli) and bok choy. Also, consider adding some carrot strips to add some color to the dish. You can also add some snow peas for its crunchiness.
Related recipe to this Chinese beef stir fry recipe
If you like this beef and broccoli stir fry recipe, here are some other similar recipes on this food blog for you:
- Bok choy stir-fry is the most popular recipe on this blog. It’s a simple and pure vegetarian dish that you can easily prepare.
- If you prefer spicy food, then you should try the Szechuan beef stir-fry, which has a completely different flavor from the beef and broccoli dish.
- Mushroom stir-fry is another easy-to-prepare dish that is commonly enjoyed by Chinese families. It’s a simple, everyday home-cooked meal that you can try out.
For the beef:(Marinate) (A)
- 500g beef (tenderloin or topside)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tsp cornstarch
For the stir-fry sauce (B)
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 350g broccoli florets
- 2 tbsp cooking oil (for frying)
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp cornstarch (mix with 2 tbsp of water as cornstarch slurry)
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds to garnish
- Cut the beef into thin slices.
- Marinate the beef with (A) for 15 minutes.
- Cut the broccoli into florets. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for two minutes. Drained.
- Combine ingredients in (B) to prepare the stir-fry sauce.
- Pan-fry the beef, single layer over medium heat until both sides turn brown. Remove the beef from the pan.
- Saute the garlic and ginger.
- Then add the broccoli to stir-fry until tender-crisp. Return the beef to the pan.
- Add the stir-fry sauce.
- Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry. Serve.
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Hotec Premium Stainless Steel Locking Kitchen Tongs with Silicon Tips, Set of 2-9" and 12"
Cooks Standard 02591 Flat Bottom with Lid 11-Inch Hard Anodized Nonstick Wok Stir Fry Pan, Black
Rice Cooking Wine (Red) - 750ml (Pack of 1) by Shaohsing
Bob's Red Mill Resealable Hulled White Sesame Seeds, 10 Oz (6 Pack)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1096Total Fat: 76gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 46gCholesterol: 218mgSodium: 2356mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 73g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/12/2020.