Chinese-American Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce Recipe

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Chinese-American Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce Recipe

[Photographs: Melissa Hom]

As with any wok-cooked stir-fry, the key to really great beef and broccoli is to use the highest possible heat, minimizing cook time so that you can get a great sear on the meat and vegetables before they begin to overcook in the center.

For this version, I use flap meat marinated in soy and rice wine (you can feel free to use flank, hanger, or skirt if you prefer), sliced thin, then rapidly stir-fried in a wok that I heat directly over the coals in my Weber kettle grill (see here for more information). The coals get the wok hot enough so that I can sear the beef, push it up the sides, sear the broccoli, add the aromatics, then toss everything in sauce right there in one go without having to move things back and forth. It's the ideal quick meal, ready in under five minutes once you've got your coals nice and hot.

When I make a version indoors at home, I make sure to cook in small batches in a wok set over a gas burner, letting the pan preheat as much as possible between batches of meat and veg before finally stirring it all back together with the sauce in the wok at the end.

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 10 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, or flap meat, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (divided)
  • 1/4 cup shaoxing wine or dry sherry (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, whites finely sliced, greens cut into 1/2-inch segments, reserved separately
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
  • 1 pound broccoli florets (about 1 1/2 quarts)

Directions

  1. 1.

    Combine beef, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine in a bowl and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature and up to 3 hours.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, combine remaining soy sauce with corn starch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining shaoxing wine, chicken stock, oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and scallion whites in a bowl and set aside.

  3. 3.

    To Grill With a Wok Insert: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals in a pile on center of cooking grate. Place Weber 8835 Gourmet BBQ System Hinged Cooking Grate on grill and set wok in center. Add oil and heat until smoking. Add beef and cook, stirring and tossing until beef is lightly charred but still pink in spots, about 1 minute. Push beef to sides of wok to clear space in center. Add broccoli and cook, stirring in center until lightly charred, about 30 seconds. Toss with beef and push up sides of wok. Add garlic/ginger/scallion mixture to center of wok and immediately push all ingredients into center, tossing and stirring until beef is cooked through and broccoli is just barely tender but still crunchy, about 30 seconds longer. Stir sauce and pour into wok (it should immediately start to boil). Add scallion greens. Toss all ingredients to coat in sauce and cook until lightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve.

  4. 4.

    To Cook On A Burner: When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef, adding beef to same bowl. Wipe out wok.

  5. 5.

    Add 1 more tablespoon oil to wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add half of broccoli. Transfer to bowl with beef. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining broccoli. Return wok to high heat until smoking. Return beef and broccoli to wok and add garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sauce and scallion greens and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until lightly thickened, about 45 seconds longer. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve.