Tricolor Pepper Steak With Leeks

March 29, 2023

Tricolor Pepper Steak With Leeks is a delicious twist on the classic Chinese takeaway dish. Pepper Steak, a simple dish of beef, green bell peppers, and yellow onions cooked in a brown sauce, has a long history of satisfying hungry diners. But by adding the vibrant colors and flavors of tricolor peppers and leeks, you can elevate this dish to a new level of taste and texture.

I must admit that while working in the restaurant kitchen, this wasn’t one of my favorite dishes to prepare. Still, I have since perfected a healthier and more delicious version.

Substituting fresh leek for the yellow onion improves the dish’s flavor and provides a beautiful display.

Instead of leeks, you can use scallions (we used a wide scallion variety local to China because leeks are hard to come by).


  • 8 oz. of flank steak
  • 1 tsp. of soy sauce (for the beef marinade)
  • 1 tsp. of oil (plus more for cooking)
  • 1 tbsp. of cornstarch (plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tbsp. of water
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 2 to 4 pcs. of whole dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. of light or regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. of sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/8 tsp. of sugar


  1. Cut the steak into thin strips about 3 inches long and toss them with the soy sauce, oil, and a pinch of cornstarch in a bowl until well combined. Putting aside. Cutting meat while still slightly frozen makes it easier to work with. Put aside 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
  2. Remove all dirt and debris from the peppers and leeks (paying special attention to the leeks, which can be quite sandy). Remove the stems and chop the peppers and leeks into 1-inch chunks. We don’t understand why, but the leek’s green half is often thrown away in Western cookery. The entire leek is utilized in this recipe. Chop the garlic cloves into small pieces.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and heat it over high heat until it begins to smoke. Blend in the meat and chili powder (if using). If you sear the steak in a hot pan, you can avoid it sticking. Take the beef and the chilis out of the wok and place them in a separate bowl.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil and bring the wok back to high heat. Add the garlic, leeks, and peppers to the pan. After one minute of stirring, pour the wine to deglaze the pan. Then, stir in the beef, chilies, two types of soy sauce, oil, sugar, salt, and sesame seeds that have been seared.
  5. For another minute of stir-frying, mix everything together. The liquid at the wok’s base should be sizzling, and the wok should be hot. More sauce can be added to the rice by using chicken or beef stock. Last but not least, add the cornstarch slurry you prepared previously to turn the remaining liquid into a thick, decadent sauce. Immediately accompany with steamed rice.
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