When it comes to Chinese cuisine, Westerners tend to prefer beef and broccoli stir-fry over jie lan or gai lan, which is a type of Chinese broccoli native to China (Cantonese). Leafy green veggies are used in many Chinese cuisines, so this isn’t a surprise.
Vegetable meals are frequently served without meat, but here in the United States, beef is a favorite. This recipe for beef with Chinese broccoli will be just up your alley if you agree.
We’re not trying to mislead you. We like the more typical takeout version of this dish with beef and broccoli, but the Chinese broccoli is a nice change of pace.
The taste of Chinese broccoli is similar to that of other leafy green vegetables, including broccoli, broccoli rabe, and collard greens. This stir-fry, if made correctly and with plenty of tender beef, may become your new favorite dish. It’s even better than the typical beef, and broccoli everyone is familiar with.
A few things to keep in mind: This recipe does not call for pre-blanching the Chinese broccoli. Unless, of course, we’re making Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, we don’t blanch our leafy greens. I prefer to eat Chinese leafy greens with a somewhat crispy feel. You also avoid losing any of the vitamins by cooking the greens straight in the wok.
Chinese broccoli benefits greatly from the addition of fresh ginger, which is a necessity rather than a nice addition. There will always be a couple of slices of ginger on the plate of eateries serving beef with Chinese broccoli.
The quantity of sauce to be used is also critical. Sarah prefers a lot of sauce, Kaitlin doesn’t care, and Judy and I prefer a little less. As a result, we settle for a compromise. The chicken stock is omitted and less cornstarch slurry is used when Judy and I are making the dish alone. Our Chinese beef with broccoli is always better with extra gravy, so when Sarah is here, we make it with beef stock (or chicken stock). This is how we maintain order.
As a substitute for Chinese broccoli, you can use broccolini, which can be found in most shops these days (broccolini is actually a cross between Chinese broccoli and regular old broccoli).
Exactly as promised, here is the recipe for this wonderful dinner!
- 225g flank steak
- 16 ounces of Chinese broccoli
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 3 slices of fresh ginger
- 2 sliced cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of oil
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil
- ¼ cup of hot chicken stock
- Slice the flank steak at a 45-degree angle, remove any unwanted fat and fibrous membrane, and cut the steak into 14-inch thick slices. Make sure to chop the beef against the grain. If your knife skills aren’t up to snuff, freeze the beef until it’s hard but not frozen before cutting it; this will make slicing considerably easier!
- In a bowl, combine the beef, cornstarch, oil, and soy sauce, each with 1 teaspoon. For the next 20 minutes, use your hands to massage the flavors into the meat.
- Set up a wok and begin cooking the beef. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Sear the meat for 30-60 seconds, just until browned, in the oil that’s starting to get smoky. Make a clean break by taking it out of the wok. To the wok, add the ginger and 2 additional tablespoons of oil. Caramelize the ginger in the pan for around 15 seconds. Stir-fry the garlic and Chinese broccoli for one minute, watching to make sure they cook evenly. Eventually, the Chinese broccoli will go from yellow to an intense green coloration.
- Combine the sesame oil and hot chicken stock with the beef and stir-fry for a few minutes to combine everything. Don’t ruin the stir-fry fun in the wok by cooling down the contents by using hot chicken stock. Adding cold chicken stock and then having to wait for the liquid to return to a boiling, the sizzling state is the worst.)
- The sauce can be thickened by gently stirring in cornstarch slurry after the liquid has come to a boil, then removing the meat and veggies from the center of the pan. You should only use what you really need. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well-coated. Add more chicken or beef stock, herbs, and cornstarch if desired for a thicker sauce.
- The rice should be cooked and served on a hot plate.