Beef and Broccoli that is literally better than any Chinese takeout and easier than you might think!
Beef and Broccoli is the epitome of Chinese food in my book. It just doesn’t get better than tender slices of beef that are SO juicy, SO flavorful as they soak up the marinade and then slathered in savory soy, ginger, garlic sauce. The rich flavor is complimented by crisp-tender broccoli florets and hot steaming rice. This Beef Broccoli recipe uses easy to find grocery store ingredients and a large skillet instead of a wok so anyone can make this any time! And you are going to make this Beef and Broccoli recipe ALL THE TIME! (photo update from original post 2/28/2014)
BEEF AND BROCCOLI VIDEO
I was at an awesome restaurant a few days after I had made this Beef and Broccoli recipe and I was still craving it. You know that type of craving where it just won’t go away, the type when nothing else sounds good but what you are craving?! The type of craving I warned you General Tso’s Chicken (aka My Favorite Chicken Ever!) would create AND my Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken and my Mongolian Beef and Beef Bulgogi? Yeah, well this will do it to you too. Consider yourself warned.
So even though I had just eaten beef broccoli, I giddily ordered it off the menu. I was a little disappointed my restaurant dish wasn’t as good as my “Better than Takeout Beef and Broccoli,” recipe but to be completely honest, also kind of proud.
The tender, thin slices of beef are so juicy, so flavorful as they soak up every savory essence of the marinade, and then the sauce; oh the sauce! Its rich, slightly sweet, mostly savory, and just so right! I guarantee you will not find a better beef broccoli sauce! Aside from the scrumptious factor, this Beef and Broccoli recipe also gets major points for its simple prep. Most of your time is spent slicing the meat beforehand, so when its “go” time, you simply whisk together the sauce ingredients and stir fry the beef and broccoli – bam! You can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes…or directly in your mouth, both ways equally delicious!
What Kind of Meat is used for Beef and Broccoli?
I love Broccoli Beef for all the aforementioned reasons and because it is fairly economical when it comes to beef. I like to use flank steak but you could also use flat iron steak. Flank steak is is an inexpensive cut of steak that transforms into melt-in-your-mouth-tender by slicing it thin, marinating it and not overcooking it. You will be astonished just how buttery delicious flank steak can become!
How do you Tenderize Beef?
Our marinade both infuses our beef with flavor and tenderizes it. You can either marinate you beef at room temperature for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. This is how our marinade ingredients tenderize our beef:
- soy sauce: the salt in the soy sauce helps break down the proteins for a more tender texture.
- cornstarch: acts as a binder and helps our soy sauce and rice wine come together and bind to the meat. It also provides a light coating that helps protects it from the intense heat when cooking.
How do you Make Chinese Beef and Broccoli?
Our Beef Broccoli recipe is very simple but has some hands-off time due to the marinating. I actually like that we prepare the marinade first because then when it comes to actually stir-frying our beef and broccoli, it comes together in a snap!
1. Slice your beef thinly. The key to this Beef and Broccoli recipe is to THINLY slice your steak across the grain. It doesn’t have to be razor thin like Beef Bulgogi, but between 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Thin slices ensure steak that is seeping with flavor and buttery tender. It is much easier to thinly slice your steak if you freeze it for 30 minutes or so. You are welcome to freeze it longer, whatever makes it solid enough for you to handle because it will defrost in the marinade.
2. Slice your beef across the grain. You also want to take care to slice the beef ACROSS the grain. You can see the “grain” running through the meat in one direction. The grain is essentially the muscle fibers running through the meat. You want to cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible. If you cut it parallel to the grain you will end up with long muscle fibers AKA chewy, rubbery tough meat so cut AGAINST the grain!
2. Marinate your beef. This is a step that many Beef and Broccoli recipes don’t take but it makes such a difference! We whisk all our marinade ingredients together in a freezer size bag – or whatever you are going to marinate your steak in and add your steak. The marinade consists of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, cornstarch, garlic powder and ginger powder.
- Hoisin Sauce. If you aren’t familiar with hoisin sauce it it can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store and is like Asian BBQ Sauce. I use it all the time in my recipes so if you are interested in making my Mongolian Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp, Sesame Chicken, etc., then I promise it will not go to waste!
2. Whisk together the stir-fry Sauce. When you’re ready to stir fry your Beef and Broccoli, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl consisting of Japanese rice wine (or dry sherry), chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, we combine garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon peanut oil.
- Rice Wine: You might be wondering about the rice wine and the oyster sauce. Rice wine should become a pantry staple if you do much Asian cooking. Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar- DO NOT switch them out. Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor. Rice vinegar, on the other hand will add an acidic flavor. I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for. The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.
- Oyster sauce: If you have done a lot of Asian cooking, you probably have cooked with it before, and if you haven’t, you are going to love it! Oyster sauce is a staple in Asian cooking. It is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts. You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars. My personal favorite is Lee Kum Kee, which is just a few more dollars. Not all oyster sauce is created equal. The quality of oyster sauce will affect the flavor, so if you want the extra “oomph” to your dish, go with a good quality sauce.
4. Stir fry. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil (you can substitute vegetable oil) in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot and sizzling. It is important that the skillet be smoking hot so that the beef will sear and not steam. Add beef to the skillet and break up any clumps; cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned and almost cooked through, about 1-2 minutes (it will cook more in the sauce). Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender! Transfer beef to a large plate and cover. You will probably need to cook your beef in two batches so it sears and doesn’t just steam.
5. Stir fry AND steam broccoli. We heat additional oil in the now empty skillet then add our broccoli and saute for 30 seconds. Next, we add 1/4 cup water, cover the pan, and lower heat to medium and steam the broccoli just until desired crisp- tenderness, about about 2 minutes. Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger/red pepper/oil to the center of the pan, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then stir the mixture into the broccoli. So now not only is our beef infused with flavor but our broccoli is as well!
6. Combine! Finally, return the beef to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine then add to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and beef is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. And then dive into the best Beef and Broccoli recipe you have ever had!
Tips and Tricks for Beef Broccoli Recipe
- freeze your beef for 30-60 minutes to make it easier to slice
- slice your beef across the grain
- slice your steak THINLY into 1/8″-1/4″ slices
- make sure your skillet is smoking hot before adding your beef
- add beef in a single layer to sear – you will probably need to cook in two batches
- don’t overcook your steak initially because you will add it back to the skillet with your sauce
- you can substitute vegetable oil but NOT olive oil for the peanut oil because olive oil has a lower smoking point
- use QUALITY hoisin and oyster sauce like Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman (it DOES make a difference!)
- cut your broccoli into uniform pieces
- feel free to substitute the broccoli for other veggies
- customize the heat with additional sriracha or chili sauce
Looking for More Chinese fakeout takeout recipes?
- Mongolian Chicken
- Asian Caramel Pulled Pork
- Cashew Chicken
- Pineapple Ginger Chicken
- Coconut Cashew Chicken
- Honey Lemon Chicken
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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Recipe Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
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