Long days call for Chinese takeout. They are quick, delicious, and they serve the whole family. One of my favorite Chinese-American takeout is broccoli and beef. I usually get a large order to go and have it with steamed white rice for a quick family meal. The sauce has fantastic Asian flavors. The meat is tender and silky, and the broccoli is perfectly crunchy. Broccoli is not only tasty, but it's also loaded with health benefits.
To get that incredibly soft and silky texture on the beef, Chinese restaurants usually add baking soda. Baking soda is a Chinese restaurant secret for tenderizing meat. The meat is marinated with a mixture of soy and oyster sauce, then tossed with a thin coat of corn starch, then deep-fried. Often times the broccoli and other vegetables are deep fried too. As you can see, takeout from Chinese restaurants are delicious but they aren't too healthy. Almost every component of the dish is deep-fried.
For a healthy version, I make this at home without the excess oil. Instead of deep-frying, I just stir fry the meat with a little bit of oil, and steam the vegetables. Everything get tossed together in a wok with the stir-fry sauce for the perfect one-wok side dish. This way I get a tasty meal without the guilt.
To get dinner on the table quicker and avoid the temptation of ordering take out, I usually make the stir fry sauce in bulk and in advance. I also always have a bag of of frozen broccoli and other vegetables on hand. It's a little bit of planning, but it helps when you are tight on time. The future hungry you will thank you. Enjoy!
Beef and Broccoli Recipe
- 1 lb top round or sirloin steak (sliced into thin 1\8" bit-size pieces against the grain; partially freeze for easier slicing)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black or white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda (optional; meat tenderizer for tougher meats such as top round)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup corn starch
Stir Fry Sauce
- 1-1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock (unsalted)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon corn or tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 head broccoli (cut into bite-sized pieces then boil or steam until fork tender)
- 1 small carrot (optional for color; slice thinly at a diagonal then boil or steam until fork tender)
- To the meat, add soy sauce, pepper, baking soda and water. Mix until well combined. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. All the liquid should be absorbed into the meat.
- In the meantime, make the stir-fry sauce. Combine chicken/vegetable stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, oyster sauce, sesame oil and starch. Mix with fork until the starch is completely dissolved.
- To the meat, add corn starch and mix until evenly coated.
- In a large wok or skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium high. Add the minced garlic and ginger and sweat out the aromatics (do not brown; about 30 seconds).
- Add the meat to the hot wok and spread them into a thin layer. Quickly sear the outside (no need to cook completely through) to get nice caramelization. Depending on the size of the wok, you may need to do this is batches to prevent overcrowding and steaming the meat. Remove the meat from the wok.
- To the now empty wok, add the stir-fry sauce and let it thicken up slightly.
- Once the sauce is slightly thicken, add the cooked broccoli and carrots. Mix to get an even coating of sauce on the vegetables.
- Add the seared meat back into the wok. Toss to combined. Serve with steamed white rice.