Beef and Broccoli

beef-and-broccoli

I love “Chinese” food. I mean the probably-very-far-from-the-real-thing American-style Chinese food, to be clear, dishes like beef and broccoli and the closely related broccoli in garlic sauce. When I was in high school, there was this Chinese place, Cafe Pacific, that me and my bestie would go to about every other weekend. It’s a dark, semi-swanky place with faux leather booths in red, black laquered tables, and artificial ivory carvings. I’m sure the staff loved our weekly visits. Hey, big spenders! … they probably thought to themselves as they hid in the kitchen, drawing straws over who had to take our order. We’d smoke a lot of weed in the parking lot, split an order of pork fried rice, and camp out at our tiny table in the corner for an hour. “A good meal at a fair price”, he’d say. And it was. Only like $3 a piece. I’m sure the servers hated us, but if that was the most inconsiderate thing I ever did, then I don’t think it’s so bad. Except it got worse…

In college, me and same friend would hit up Suzi’s Chinese Kitchen fairly regularly. We were typical students, super broke all the time as it should be. Our ordering MO this time was to each get a side of plain steamed rice and a water. We’d dress up our rice with the soy sauce and chili paste that were on every table. I’d call it an okay meal at a remarkably low price. I think they charged a dollar for an order of rice. I realize now how obnoxious it probably was, but I honestly don’t remember ever getting the stink-eye from anyone so maybe they didn’t really mind. And of course we’d tip the waiter, so really it ended up to $2 each. Not a bad deal, still, to go out and feel “fancy”.

We’d kind of do the same thing at Taco Cabana, where you could get 10 awesome flour tortillas for a dollar and then abuse the salsa bar to make “salsa tacos” filled with pico de gallo and nothing else. Maybe they all knew exactly what was going on and just viewed it as a way to support the community.

But whatever. Beef and broccoli! It’s delicious! It’s a thing I order often now that I am not trying to get away with spending less than $3 on lunch all the time. The good news is, though, that if you make it at home, yourself, it really does cost less than $3 per person and it’s probably a smidge healthier, too. I’d venture to say you can make beef and broccoli at home with less fat, sodium, and sugar than any restaurant could. It’s fast, too. I don’t know what more you could ask for.

Beef and Broccoli Video

Beef and Broccoli Recipe – Printable!

4.3 from 3 reviews

Beef and Broccoli
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound beef flank or skirt steak
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about a pound)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2-4 dried red chilies or ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional but delicious!)
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce*
  • ¼ chicken broth, beef broth, or water
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • For serving: rice or noodles as desired
Instructions
  1. Trim the excess fat from the steak and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut the broccoli into florets and set aside.
  3. When meat is partially frozen, slice very thinly against the grain and then cut the strips into 3-4″ lengths. Toss with the soy sauce.
  4. Put ½ cup water in a large skillet or wok (use something you can cover with a lid) and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the broccoli and cover. Cook for one minute. Remove steamed broccoli and set aside. Pour out the water and dry the pan.
  6. Heat the oil over high for about a minute until near-smoking. Add the steak strips in a single layer and the chilies and stirfty just until the meat is browned. You may need to do this in two batches.
  7. Once all the meat is cooked, add the oyster sauce, broth, and garlic and stir to combine.
  8. Add the brocoli and toss until coated.
  9. Serve right away over rice, noodles, in a tortilla, or on its own.
Notes
*You can easily transform this into my favorite vegetarian Chinese menu item, Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, by leaving out the beef (duh) doubling the broccoli and the garlic. It’s not technically vegetarian with the oyster sauce, but it’s the way they do it in restaurants. *Oyster sauce is made from oysters (or “oyster extract”). It’s not fishy-tasting at all, but rich and salty and briny. I encourage you to try cooking with it if you’ve never done so. However, if you’re opposed to shellfish for any reason, substitute the sauce in this recipe with: 1 teaspoon (additional) soy sauce ½ cup (total) chicken stock 1 teaspoon cornstarch Pinch of sugar Whisk those together and add at the same time you would add the oyster sauce.

You can use the same method with very thinly sliced chicken breast or chicken thighs, and add other vegetables (carrots, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, onion) as you like.

Watch the beef and broccoli recipe video on YouTube!

Comments

  1. O'Teaspoon says:

    Nice job! Much like mine except for the oyster sauce. Thanks for the tip on chilling the beef to help slice thin. New knife? Where your santoku at?

    • Thanks! Hope you try with the oyster sauce. I love it. I did get a new knife! Ha! I’ve been using it since my Santoku needs sharpening bad and I don’t trust myself to get the right angle on it. I only recently learned that Santokus are sharpened at a different angle than standard chef’s knives (30º I think as opposed to 45).
      Yay for learning! :/

  2. O'Teaspoon says:

    I heard that japanese knives are sharpened on one side only (makes them hard to share with your southpaw buddies). Surprised a famous TV chef wouldn’t have strong sharpening skills. (Maybe that’s a ‘nother episode! :) ) I know I could certainly use some help in this direction. I *will* try oyster sauce at your invitiation but am still a little worried it might be yucky. I like the hot cock sauce a lot, too! We use it on everything at the ranch. TTFN

    • Yeah, I’ve thought about having a pro come in, or shoot an episode at a knife shop or something. I used to just sharpen the Santoku the same way I do my others, but once I read about the different angle I got all weirded out and haven’t touched it since. :P

  3. Hilah! Wonderful recipe, and btw, the video is top quality, very well-done. I just added flank steak to my grocery list. And the oyster sauce, I have had a bottle of this in the ice box for some time, I will definately use some in this dish. Love the hot peppers too, I have a large bag of them in the drawer right by the stove. My favorite knife is a 100-year-old carbon steel carving knife given to my grandmother as a wedding present. I have quality stainless steel knives from my trips to Germany, but this seems to be my go-to knife. Keep ‘em comin’ girl! Kudos from Florida.

    • Yay! I love putting oyster sauce in all my stirfry. I have one of those carbon steel knives from my parents, too! I need to sharpen it as well, but I do remember it holding an edge for a LONG time.

  4. Looks great, Hilah. You should make a cream of broccoli soup video. ;)

  5. Great recipe, I’ll try the oyster sauce. I make a Nappa cabbage and beef dish that is also super simple. Beef prepared the same, marinated in oil and soy. Cut up cabbage w/garlic, cumin, thyme, pepper. Heat the pot up and cook all but the beef (cabbage gives off plenty of water) for 8 minutes, add beef and cook 2 more, stir in a little cornstarch and serve over rice.

    • That sounds so delicious and unusual, Bob! I don’t think I’ve ever thought to put thyme with soy sauce. Thank you!

  6. Hey just tried the recipe it was pretty good I think next time i am going to add more peppers and more garlic but It was pretty good and you are definitely right about over cooking the meat it took me to long and i had tried it before i was finished was really tender when i served it kind of tough the baby started crying and i turned a 10 minute recipe into like 30. Thanks again i love your show. by the way are red pepper flakes and chili flakes the same things they dont sell chilis or chili flakes where I am

  7. by the way i dont like fish and I could not taste the oyster sauce so you guys should try it

  8. Cabo Wabo says:

    Another great recipe! I like oyster sauce, but for anyone scared of it: just substitute in Hoisin Sauce. It turns out pretty similar. Also I added 1 tsp Cornstarch and a dash of Toasted Sesame Oil to the soy sauce “marinade”. It helps the marinade stick and helps the meat brown quick with extra flavor. Also added a pinch of grated fresh ginger along with the garlic. Or you can add the ginger to the oil in the beginning to infuse flavor.
    Can you please do some more quick and easy Chinese/Asian take-out recipes. I’ve been trying to replicate my favorites at home. How about shrimp fried rice, Singapore noodles, and Pad Thai. I liked your spring rolls recipe already. Thanks Hilah!

    • Hi Cabo!
      Thanks for sharing your suggestions! I’ve been thinking about figuring out a slightly healthier General Tso Chicken, and fried rice is always good!

  9. Lance Logan says:

    Hey hilah. I love fish sauce because it seems to be the secret ingredient for asain food that really makes it taste like asain food. Is oyster sauce similar? I would think they both taste like the sea (mmmm).

    Ps. I make tacos out of my leftover stir fry all the time. True austinites we are.

    • Hi Lance!
      Surprisingly, oyster sauce doesn’t taste too much like seafood. It adds that almost indescribable umami flavor, but it’s not similar to fish sauce. You might use a couple drops of fish sauce to this recipe, but I wouldn’t add more than that or it would over power it.
      StirFryTacosFTW!!!

      • birdman says:

        Yeah, definitely no fishy flavor with the oyster sauce. Umami is a good way of putting it! The store I went to had 2 varieties with similar ingredients, so I just bought the one that had sugar instead of HFCS. It reminds me of the “brown sauce” sometimes used in Asian recipes (and upon googling, apparently sometimes they are used interchangeably).

        And I can’t believe I never thought to make stir fry tacos. Now I’m going to make extra on purpose. :)

  10. Because I saw it in the store and was feeling lazy, I used “choice beef round” that was already cut into strips, which seemed to work fine. I might try a more tender cut of beef next time though.

    And because I don’t like hot stuff, I left out the chiles, but I DID try oyster sauce for the first time, and this turned out pretty fantastic. There was still quite a bit of liquid in the wok when the beef and broccoli were done, so I just let it simmer and reduce until it thickened, and poured that over everything. THAT really sealed the deal!

    Next time, as with most sauces (on account of my name), I have to try this on wings. :)

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