Beef and broccoli stir-fry is a Chinese dish that can satisfy almost every palate.
It is a Chinese dish that 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 population of Chinese. Also, there are many Chinese who do not eat beef due to religious reasons.
Secondly, gai lan, which is a variation of broccoli, is much more popular among the Chinese. Gai lan is leafy and with a large stem which tastes quite different from broccoli. The Chinese just love it.
Regardless of the origin, beef and broccoli stir-fry is an incredible dish. The florets of the broccoli soak up the stir-fry sauce, making it exceptionally delicious. Broccoli is the perfect match with beef as they are not only tasty but is 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 cuts of tender beef are suitable for stir-frying because it is a quick cooking process. It does not have the luxury to simmer the meat for a long time for the meat to break down slowly.
Sirloin and tenderloin are the best cuts for stir-frying. Other less expensive cuts such as topside can be used as long as it is 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 it is sliced, and the knife is less likely sliding away from the beef. Therefore, it is very easy to slice the beef to paper-thin.
I prefer to cut the beef into five cm wide strips, then sliced 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 some 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 that they will not be too big compared to the beef.
Once you have done that, you have the option to blanch the broccoli florets or just leave it as it is.
There will be some debris dropping off when you cut them into florets if the broccoli is not very fresh. If that is the case, I suggest you blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for two minutes. Remove the broccoli florets from the water with a pair of 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 onto the beef slices, which make 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. 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 garlic and ginger over medium heat with some oil.
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 into the pan. If you have blanch the broccoli earlier, you may only need to stir-fry the broccoli 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-fried over high heat for 20 seconds. At the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Dish out and garnish with white sesame seeds
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 amount of 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 wine if you are a non-alcoholic.
Can I use other vegetables and use 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 method of preparation is almost identical, except you can pan-fry or stir-fry the chicken longer as there is no worry to overcook the chicken. You also need to marinate the chicken for half an hour since you can cut the chicken pieces thicker than the beef.
If you like the combination of ginger and scallion, you can refer to the ginger and scallion stir-fry recipe on this blog. 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 carrots strips to add some color to the dish. You can also add some snow peas for its crunchiness.
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