On the rare night when we order Chinese takeout, we all want something different. Dave craves something spicy, green onion pancakes, and salt & pepper chicken. Lucy requests fried rice. And I prefer beef with broccoli, beef with broccoli, and beef with broccoli. Sadly, it’s a dish that’s hard for most restaurants to get right. The beef sometimes tastes “beefy” (not fresh), the broccoli is overcooked, and the sauce can be soupy.
Lucky for me though, it’s dang easy to make at home. It’s a quick, tasty weeknight meal with no takeout cartons necessary. And the secret to getting the beef fork-tender requires only a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Start with a few dry ingredients in a large bowl: baking soda, a little bit of sugar, and some cornstarch.
Whisk in some soy sauce, water, and vegetable oil.
Slice your steak against the grain into thin strips. I like flank steak for this dish, but tri-tip or pretty much any cut would work just fine.
Toss the meat with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This easy marinade is all that it takes to get that crazy-tender beef, even with less expensive cuts.
Next, when you’re ready for dinner, make the sauce. It’s an easy blend of soy, brown sugar, minced garlic, a bit of flour, and cooking sherry (the sherry is optional; I think it rounds out the flavors nicely but if you don’t have any, no need to take a special trip to the grocery). Stir until the flour and sugar dissolve.
In a large saute pan or wok, heat some vegetable oil on high. When the oil is thoroughly heated (it will begin to shimmer), toss in the broccoli and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Don’t walk away! You’ll risk burning your veggies. Transfer to a plate or a heatproof bowl.
In the same pan, saute the beef with half of the sauce mixture for 3-4 minutes (keep stirring often!) or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
Add the broccoli and dump in the rest of the sauce. Saute for one more minute. Remove from heat.
Serve over rice. Swoon. Eat. Repeat.
I adore the thickness of the sauce. It coats every morsel with that salty, garlicky flavor. Just a little bit seeps onto the rice. Perfection.
Oh, broccoli. You are my favorite vegetable. And unlike that Chinese takeout joint, I didn’t overcook you into broccoli-shaped mush.
And beef. I could write a song about you. It would sound something like a fusion of Styx and Bad Company, with a little Earth, Wind & Fire thrown in for funk.
Don’t worry, world. I’ll spare you that one.
Beef with Broccoli Printable PDF
This easy version of the Chinese takeout classic requires only a short marinade to make the beef fork-tender. Serve over white or brown rice. Serves 4.
Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour for marinade Cook Time: 8 minutes
First, marinate the meat:
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into thin strips
1. Whisk together the baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Toss the steak with the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, then proceed below.
- 1/2 c low-sodium soy sauce (Do NOT use regular. The final product will be way too salty)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp sherry
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 heads broccoli, crowns only
1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and sherry until smooth. Set aside.
2. In a large wok or saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer broccoli to a plate.
3. Reduce heat to medium-high. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce. Saute 1 minute more. Serve.