Stir-Fried Lo Mein With Beef and Broccoli Recipe

How to make a favorite American Chinese restaurant staple that's even better than takeout.

A wokful of beef and broccoli lo mein.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Why It Works

  • A balanced marinade helps to tenderize meat as well as provide superior browning characteristics and better flavor.
  • Par-cooking the noodles gives them optimal texture when they're fried.
  • The ingredients are cooked in batches so as to maximize wok hei, the smoky effect of a hot wok.

From crispy pan-fried noodles to a bowl of wonton noodle soup, fresh Chinese egg noodles are a staple of Chinese restaurants. Just like Italian pasta or ramen, when cooked properly, they should have a firm bite and springy texture, and the wide variation in thickness and springiness makes Chinese egg noodles some of the most versatile to cook with.

Beef and broccoli might only be a classic combination in the American Chinese repertoire, but that doesn't make it any less delicious. In most restaurants, you'll find it served with rice, but I like to stir-fry it with hearty lo mein noodles.

Fresh lo mein noodles out of the package.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

The thickest variety of egg noodles, lo mein is great for stir-fried dishes with hearty flavors and rich sauces. Because the noodles are thick and dense, they're never as springy or bouncy as thinner noodles, which can be a good thing if you plan on making this dish ahead: lo mein's biggest advantage is that it holds up well to time, making it the perfect option for a buffet, a potluck, or when traveling.

The recipe starts with marinating beef in my basic meat marinade, which includes soy sauce, corn starch, Shaoxing wine, sugar, salt, and sesame oil. It's designed to help improve browning and bring out the meaty flavors of the beef.

While the beef marinates in the fridge, I par-cook my noodles. All egg noodles should be par-boiled in water before stir-frying (though be careful, some brands sell their noodles pre-boiled and ready-to-fry). Lo mein noodles take about three minutes. After they're cooked, I briefly run them under cold water to chill them rapidly.

When they're ready to cook, I start with the beef, stir-frying it in a couple tablespoons of smoking hot vegetable oil just until it's browned all over and mostly cooked. Then I remove it to a separate bowl to let my wok re-heat for the broccoli.

You can stir-fry the broccoli in just oil, but I like to add a little bit of water so that the broccoli steams and turns bright green. A couple minutes and it can join the beef in the bowl.

Finally, I stir-fry the noodles, making sure to get the wok hot again. You can use a spatula to stir-fry, but chopsticks will work better, allowing you to separate any clumps of noodles that stick together without breaking them. Once the noodles are hot, I add a simple sauce made of sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and wine, before tossing all the ingredients back in together.

Give it a few more tosses, and it's ready to serve. Chewy, al dente noodles in a rich sweet-and-savory sauce, along with tender marinated slices of beef and bright green broccoli florets. So much better than take out!

April 2014

Recipe Facts

4.8

(6)

Active: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

For the Beef:

  • 1/2 pound flank or skirt steaksliced thin for stir-frying

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine

  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Noodles:

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 pound fresh lo mein noodles

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 pound broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)

Directions

  1. For the Beef: Combine beef, salt, sugar, pepper, wine, soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss with fingers to coat. Set in refrigerator to marinate.

    Stirring cornstarch and seasonings into sliced flank steak for stir-fry.

    Serious Eats / Shao Z.

  2. For the Sauce: While the beef marinates, combine sesame oil, light and dark soy sauces, oyster sauce, salt, sugar, wine, and water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and set aside.

  3. For the Noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring with chopsticks, until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water until chilled. Drain well and set aside.

    Rinsing cooked noodles under cold water.

    Serious Eats / Shao Z.

  4. When ready to cook, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add beef, spread it out with a spatula, and cook without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Toss and cook, stirring frequently, until almost cooked through, about 2 minutes total. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

    Stir-frying marinated steak strips in hot wok.

    Serious Eats / Shao Z.

  5. Add another tablespoon oil to the wok and heat over high heat until smoking. Add the broccoli and season with a couple pinches of salt. Cook, stirring, until very lightly browned, about 30 seconds, then add 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring, until broccoli is steamed and water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with beef.

    Stir-frying broccoli florets in hot wok.

    Serious Eats / Shao Z.

  6. Heat remaining tablespoon oil over high heat until smoking. Add the noodles. Using tongs or chopsticks, cook the noodles, stirring and mixing constantly until the noodles are coated in oil, about 1 minute. Add the sauce and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sauce coats the noodles, about 1 minute longer. Add the garlic, broccoli, and beef and continue cooking until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Serve immediately.

    Stir-frying lo mein noodles in hot wok.

    Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Special Equipment

Wok

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
630 Calories
27g Fat
70g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 630
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 854mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 70g 26%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 37mg 187%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 407mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)