Chinese-American Cuisine: Broccoli Beef Stir-fry


The very first time I ever had beef broccoli was from a Chinese take-out place in Columbia, Missouri. The food was good, but the name of the place was the greatest name for a Chinese take out place ever: Wok In Wok Out.

I really like stir-fried Chinese influenced cuisine. However, too often Americanized stir-fry dishes end up with a lot of really gloppy sauce that overpowers the main ingredients of the dish. This dish avoids that.

This recipe calls for toasted sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil is sesame oil pressed from toasted sesame seeds. It will be darker in color and has a nuttier flavor. It is sometimes called Oriental or Asian sesame oil.

Another nice thing about this flavorful, delicious dish is that it can come together in about forty-five minutes.

Here is what I did:


For the beef
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pound boneless sirloin, cut in 1/4″ thick slices* (See Note)

For the sauce
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon medium-dry Sherry or dry Marsala
½ cup beef broth
2 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

For the vegetables
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (3 tablespoons are used for cooking the beef)
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger root** (See Note)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
1 medium white onion sliced vertically
1 pound broccoli fresh florets*** (See Note)


Prepare the beef:
In a small bowl stir together the soy sauce, the sugar, and the salt, add the beef, mix well to coat beef and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Prep the sauce while the beef is marinating:
In a sealable container combine the cornstarch, soy sauce, Sherry, broth, sugar, and sesame oil. Seal and shake well until cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Bringing it all together:
Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat until it is hot. Add 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and heat it until it just begins to smoke. Stir-fry the beef in the oil until it is no longer pink. Be careful as the oil will more than likely splatter when the beef hits the pan. You may need to do this in a batch or two depending on the size of your wok or skillet. Transfer the cooked beef to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoon vegetable oil to the wok or skillet and heat it until it is hot but not smoking, Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and stir-fry for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is fragrant. Add the onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add broccoli and stir-fry an additional minute or until it is crisp-tender and bright green. Add the beef and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the onion and broccoli. Shake the sauce again if it has separated and add it to the pan with the beef, broccoli, and onion. Cook the mixture, constantly stirring, for 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the beef is heated through and everything is well coated. Remove from heat and cover for 2 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a serving platter or shallow bowl and serve it with steamed rice.


*You will want to thinly slice your beef. I suggest placing your beef in the freezer for about 20 or 30 minutes prior to slicing. This will firm up the muscle making it easier to get a thin, even slice.
**Fresh ginger is something I like to always have on hand. The problem is that it is hard to keep. I have found that ginger freezes very well and keeps for a very long time. When I need fresh ginger in a recipe, I simply remove from the freezer and then grate the ginger while frozen. The size of grater I use varies depending on size of mince I need. I used the smaller shredding side of my grater for this recipe.
***I placed my broccoli florets in a microwavable bowl, covered and microwaved on high for one minute. I kept the broccoli covered until I was ready to use it. This helped the broccoli become a little more tender yet retain some crispness.


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