I had Chinese beef with broccoli lined up for lunch today, and I planned on doing the stir frying myself. But Alex, who is attending culinary school and who wanted to practice tossing the wok to flip the contents, volunteered to cook lunch. I dictated the recipe as she did the prepping then she tossed the beef in the wok as she intended. Practice done. Result fantastic. And I told her that when she’s more comfortable with the flipping and tossing, I’d take a video of her doing it.
Chinese beef with broccoli is one of those dishes that introduced the girls to a vegetable that they loved as children and still love as young adults. As toddlers, Sam and Alex referred to broccoli as “puno” (tree). To them, the florets looked like small trees. It made me smile to hear Alex say “puno” during lunch today as she scooped a helping from the serving platter.
Unlike most beef with broccoli recipes that rely on a starch solution to create a thick glossy sauce, starch is absent from this recipe. The beef was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame seed oil and grated garlic before stir frying. The broccoli florets, earlier blanched then dumped in iced water, was added to the wok when the beef was done. That’s the best way to ensure that the broccoli won’t get overcooked. It’s also a good way to make sure that the florets won’t turn too dark which often happens if they cook with the dark sauces in the pan. The sauce which echoes the beef marinade was added at the last minute.
Chinese Beef With Broccoli
- 300 to 350 grams thinly sliced beef (top round, bottom round or eye round are recommended)
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce (Kikkoman is recommended)
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce divided
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce divided
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic divided
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil divided
- 1 head broccoli
- 1/4 cup bone broth
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- toasted sesame seeds
- Cut the beef into strips about three-quarters of an inch wide. Place in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, one tablespoon oyster sauce, one tablespoon hoisin sauce, half a teaspoon of grated garlic and a quarter teaspoon of sesame seed oil. Mix well and leave to marinate.
- Cut the broccoli into florets.
- Boil about four cups of water in a pan. Sprinkle in about a tablespoon of salt. Blanch the broccoli florets in the boiling water for one minute (see tips). Scoop out, drain and dump in a bowl of iced water. Stir them around until they are cold to the touch. Drain and set aside.
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, bone broth and sesame seed oil.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Swirl the wok to coat as much of the surface with oil. When the oil starts to smoke, spread the beef on the wok. Leave for a minute to allow the underside to caramelize. Using a wide spatula, flip the beef over. Spread the shallots and remaining garlic over the beef. Cook for about 45 seconds then stir. Continue stir frying for another minute.
- Add the blanched broccoli florets. Stir fry until heated through.
- Pour in the sauce. Continue stir frying until the sauce is bubbly.
- Pile the Chinese beef with broccoli in a serving dish. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve at once.