Chinese beef and broccoli stir fry

Stir fries are one of the most common and popular types of dishes in Chinese cuisine and beef with broccoli is one of the most popular stir-fry recipes.
Not only can you find this in Chinese restaurants in the West but Chinese people also love this dish in China. Beef and broccoli are both very healthy ingredients and high in nutrition.
There are many different ways to cook this stir-fry. Here is one tasty version.

What You’ll Need

• 10.5 ounces/300 g lean beef (sliced or julienned)

• 12 ounces/350 g broccoli

• 1 to 2 teaspoons salt (for the boiling water)

• 2 cloves garlic (sliced)

• 1 teaspoon ginger (finely chopped)

• 1 teaspoon potato starch (or cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water)

• For the Marinade:

• 1/2 large egg white

• 1/2 tablespoon potato starch (or cornstarch)

• 1/2 tablespoon rice wine (or Shaoxing wine)

• 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

• 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

• 1/2 tablespoon sugar (demerara)

• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

• Optional: 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

How to Make It

Make the Marinade

1. In a large bowl, mix together egg white 1/2 tablespoon potato starch, rice wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and black pepper.
2. Add the beef, completely covering it, and marinate for at least 30 minutes. If you want the beef to have more texture and be a bit softer then you can add the optional baking soda.

Prepare the Broccoli

1. Cut the broccoli into small individual florets. Boil a pot of water with 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt then blanch the broccoli in the water for 20 to 30 seconds.
1. Drain the water and soak the broccoli in iced/cold water immediately to cool it down.

Stir Fry the Dish
1. Heat up a wok with oil, stir fry the garlic and ginger first then add beef and stir fry for 1 minute. Remove it from the wok and set aside.
2. Wash the wok and dry it. Heat up a little bit of oil and stir fry the broccoli for 20 seconds then add the beef back in the wok and keep stir frying for another 30 seconds.
3. Stir in potato starch-water mixture and cook for 20 seconds.
4. Add salt to taste and it’s ready to serve with hot white rice.

• You can add sliced carrot and onion if desired. It can be boiled in the water with broccoli but you might need to add more water.
• If you find this dish is a little bit too dry during stir frying, you can add water to adjust it.
• You also can adjust the seasonings for this recipe to suit your personal taste.

Health Benefits of Beef
• Beef is well known for its high vitamin B12 content, an essential nutrient for blood formation and improving the function of the brain and nervous system.
• Beef is a great resource for zinc, a mineral important for body growth and maintenance.
• Generally, meat is a great resource for selenium. Selenium can help regulate and maintain essential bodily functions.
• Beef is well known for its high iron content. Iron can help to make red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body to help maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.
• Beef contains niacin known to lower the risk of heart disease.
• Beef is also high in vitamin B6 which is important for blood formation.
• Beef contains high levels of protein, essential for growth.

Health Benefits of Broccoli
• It can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
• It’s good for your body’s detoxification system.
• Broccoli has anti-inflammatory benefits.
• Consuming broccoli can help your body to reduce the risk of some cancers, such as mouth, throat and stomach cancers.

with Oyster Sauce & Nutty Brown Rice

Tender broccoli and crisp snow peas are just the thing for this fragrant stir-fry with ginger and a mighty tasty sauce. Top it off with crunchy black sesame seeds and a friend and you’ve got yourself a tastier meal than your local Chinese takeaway.

Preparation Time
35 minutes

Not included in your delivery

• olive oil
• 3 cup
• water (for the rice)
• 1.5 tbs
• soy sauce (or gluten free tamari soy sauce)
• (ContainsGluten,Soya)
• ½ tsp
• rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
• ¼ cup
• water (for the sauce)

Nutritional Values
• Energy (kJ)2160 kJ
• Fat12.2 g
• of which saturates3.5 g
• Carbohydrate48.9 g
• of which sugars8.2 g
• Protein47 g
• Sodium1940 mg


•Medium Pan
•Chopping board
•Small Bowl
•Garlic Press
•Large Non-Stick Pan


1. Rinse the brown rice well. Bring the rice and the water (for the rice) to the boil in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Drain and return to the saucepan. Cover to keep warm.

2. While the rice is cooking, cut the broccoli into 2 cm florets and finely chop the stalk. Trim the ends of the snow peas. Finely grate the ginger. Peel and crush the garlic. Thinly slice the long red chilli (if using).
In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and water (for the sauce) and set aside.

3. Place the wok or frying pan over a high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add 1/2 of the beef strips and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef strips. TIP: Cooking the beef in batches over a high heat prevents the meat from stewing and keeps it tender.

4. Return the wok to a high heat and add another drizzle of olive oil. Add the broccoli and a dash of water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until almost tender. TIP: Adding water to the broccoli helps speed up the cooking process! Add the snow peas, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, or until tender and fragrant.

5. Add the oyster sauce mixture and beef strips to the pan and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until warmed through.

6. Divide the brown rice between bowls and top with the Chinese beef & broccoli stir-fry. TIP: For the low calorie option, serve 3/4 cup cooked rice per portion. Sprinkle with the black sesame seeds and garnish with the long red chilli (if using). TIP: Some like it hot, but if you don’t just hold back on the chilli.

Who needs to order takeout when you have a Chinese Beef and Broccoli recipe sourced from a Chinese restaurant? AND the secret for how Chinese restaurants

I’ve attempted on several occasions to wheedle recipes out of my local Chinese restaurant – with little to no success.
I’m beyond the age of hair flipping and lack the lashes for batting my eyes to any effect, but I do dial up the charm – full wattage smile, laying on the compliments, hitting them up after I’ve ordered a truckload of takeout.
Alas, I’ve gotten nowhere.
So imagine my delight when I discovered a Chinese cooking blog called Woks of Life run by a Chinese-American family who used to own a Chinese restaurant! And that’s where the base for this recipe came from – the Woks of Life Beef and Broccoli stir fry. An actual real-deal restaurant recipe!!

The sauce base for Chinese Beef and Broccoli includes all the usual suspects – soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine (see recipe for subs), sugar and cornflour/cornstarch for thickening.
It also includes Chinese Five Spice Powder. It’s a spice mix made up of (surprise, surprise) five spices – cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan pepper, fennel and star anise.
It’s a common spice blend found in supermarkets nowadays that doesn’t cost any more than other standard spices. A little hint of Chinese Five Spice in the sauce is the signature flavour of Chinese Beef and Broccoli.

The Sauce serves a dual purpose – as the main Sauce for the stir fry, as well as adding a little flavour directly to the beef. It doesn’t need to be marinated, just set it aside while you prep the other ingredients.

In the video and the photos of the finished dish in this post, I’ve used an economy beef eye fillet (Australia – Harris Farms sells it for $20/kg) which is beautifully juicy and tender, perfect for stir fries.
Any quick cooking cut of beef is suited to this recipe. Basically, the rule of thumb is: if you’d throw it on the BBQ and eat it as a steak, it’s great for stir fries.
But, I also want to share with you a little known Chinese restaurant secret so you can make this with slow cooking cuts of beef that are far better value….

Ever notice how the meat in Chinese dishes is so incredibly tender, and how your stir fries at home are just never the same?
The secret is tenderising the meat. Your cheerful local Chinese restaurant is using economical stewing beef to make stir fries with ultra tender strips of beef by tenderising.
There are a few ways to do it. Marinating in a cornflour sludge then frying in oil before using in the stir fry, using an egg white mixture, and even chemical tenderisers.
I use the baking soda (bi-carb) method which I find the simplest for every day purposes. It’s as simple as this: use an economical slow cooking cut of beef, slice, sprinkle with baking soda, leave for 20 minutes, rinse, pat dry then use per recipe.
That beef which would ordinarily be super tough unless simmered slowly for hours is going to be so tender and juicy, it’s going to blow your mind.
Word of caution: The beef will turn freakishly bright red. See?

I haven’t travelled extensively throughout China but in the time I did spend there, I can say with certainty that I never saw Beef and Broccoli on any menu. So I’m not actually sure whether Beef and Broccoli is a westernised version of a Chinese dish, or whether it is in fact just a Western Chinese dish.
Either way, it’s a big Chinese takeout favourite – with good reason. Tender beef with juicy broccoli generously smothered with a savoury Chinese brown sauce with the signature hint of Chinese Five Spice Powder, this is one of those dishes that’s a crowd pleaser for all ages! – Nagi x

PS Plenty of sauce – see? Because everyone loves the sauce!
Faster than take out, healthier and tastier. This is a recipe from a Chinese restaurant! See recipe notes for how to tenderise the beef if using a stewing cut of beef.
Course: Stir Fry
Cuisine: Chinese American
Servings: 3 -4
Calories: 392 kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats



• 2 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 1)
• 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 1)
• 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) (Note 2)
• 1/8 tsp Chinese five spice powder (Note 3)
• 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
• 1/8 tsp tsp black pepper

Stir Fry

• 2 tbsp oil
• 12 oz / 360g beef fillet, flank or rump (Note 4 for tenderising economical beef)
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
• 4 – 5 cups broccoli florets (1 head), cooked (Note 5)
• 1 cup water


• Sesame seeds (optional)

1. Place cornflour and water in bowl then mix. Add remaining Sauce ingredients.
2. Slice the beef into 1/4″ / 0.5cm thick slices. Place the beef and 2 tbsp of the Sauce into a bowl and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add beef and spread out, leave for 1 minute until browned.
4. Stir beef for 10 seconds, then add garlic and ginger. Stir for another 30 seconds or until beef is no longer pink.
5. Pour Sauce and water into the skillet and quickly mix.
6. When the sauce starts bubbling, add broccoli. Stir to coat the broccoli in Sauce, then let it simmer for 1 minute or until Sauce is thickened.
7. Remove from heat immediately and serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Recipe Notes
1. Dark soy sauce makes the sauce colour darker and it has more flavour than light soy sauce. In Australia, you can get both at the large supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths).
You can use all purpose soy sauce or just light soy sauce in place of both the soy sauces but the sauce colour will not be lighter.
You can also substitute the Dark Soy sauce with kecap manis (if you happen to have that on hand instead). If you do, do not add any sugar because kecap manis is sweet enough.

2. Chinese cooking wine is an essential ingredient in Chinese stir fry sauces and without it, it will lack that true “restaurant” edge. Dry sherry is a terrific sub, or cooking sake. Mirin can also be used but omit the sugar.
If you cannot consume alcohol, replace 3/4 cup of the water with low sodium chicken broth.

3. Chinese Five Spice Powder is a mix of five spices. It is available in the herb and spice section of supermarkets and it costs no more than other spices.

4. Tenderising beef: Beef stir fries are best made with decent to good quality “quick cooking” cuts of beef suited to serving as steak. However, you can use chuck beef, gravy beef, round steak or “stewing / casserole beef” (which typically need to be slow cooked to break down tough connective tissues) if you tenderise the beef before using it.

If you pan fry chuck beef slices without tenderising, it’s incredibly tough and chewy – basically inedible.

Here’s how to tenderise the beef the Chinese restaurant way:

Slice beef per recipe, then sprinkle with 1 tsp of baking soda (bi-carb). Use fingers to coat beef, set aside for 20 – 30 minutes. Rinse well in colander, shake / pat off excess water. Beef will be intensely red. Proceed with recipe. Prepare to be amazed how incredibly tender that beef is.

Don’t try this with brisket. I tried once and it didn’t work (it was still super tough).

5. If par boiling, place the broccoli into a pot of boiling water, then when it comes back up to a boil, let it boil for 40 seconds (for just cooked) or 1 minute (for tender) then drain. The residual heat will cook the broccoli through while sitting in the colander.

6. Adapted from this recipe from Woks of Life, my “go to” resource for Chinese takeout recipes!

7. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice.