This  classic Chinese dish is often abused beyond belief.  It is easy to overcook the broccoli, turning the florets into a mushy version of their beautiful self, and at the same time producing beef that has the wrong texture.  The real thing is like velvet in your mouth, with a crisp, bright green broccoli giving the perfect counterpoint to the beef.  No excessive, cloyingly sweet sauce.  When properly prepared, this is a fantastic recipe that will please everyone – except the broccoli haters out there – but they might make an exception in this case. 😉

(adapted from Jaden Hair’s guest post at Simply Recipes)

1 pound flank steak or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
1 pound broccoli florets
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut in slices
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

For the beef marinade
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)

Start by marinating the beef: mix all ingredients in a bowl, add the pieces of beef and stir to coat the slices. Let it stand for 10 minutes, while you prepare the sauce and blanch the broccoli.

Make the sauce by mixing the oyster sauce, rice wine (or sherry), soy sauce, and chicken stock (or water) in a small bowl. Reserve.  Place the broccoli in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain very well and reserve.

Now, the fun begins:  heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the yellow bell pepper and cook it for a couple of minutes until it begins to soften. Remove  and reserve.  Make sure the pan is again very hot, and add the slices of beef, spreading them out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic and reserved bell pepper to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the beef is cooked through.

Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds.


to print the recipe, click here

This dish highlights well how a couple of extra-steps that might seem like a waste of time and energy make a world of difference in the final product. If you skip the beef marinade and blanching the broccoli, it simply won’t be the same.  The original recipe does not call for yellow bell pepper, but I wanted to add a bit more color. You can certainly omit it. This is a great dish for weeknights, all you’ll need is some steamed white rice.  Meat, veggies, carbs, all there in perfect harmony: the omnivore’s dream!

If you are fond of Asian recipes, make sure to stop by Jaden’s blog, The Steamy Kitchen, and consider getting her cookbook, I have it and love it!

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