I think everyone has their own version of beef and broccoli stir fry. This is my version, flavoured with honey, ginger and garlic, with a slight hint of chilli for a touch of heat. I love how quick and easy the beef and broccoli stirfry is to make! It’s perfect for when you want a tasty family meal but you don’t have much time – and it’s made in one pan so there’s less washing up!
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Beef and broccoli stir fry
Beef and broccoli stir fry is one of my favourite meals to make when I’m in a hurry to get something on the table. The beef is juicy and succulent, and broccoli is tender and full of flavour. I think it’s because I cook the broccoli in the sauce so that it absorbs all the wonderful flavours!
And the sauce is amazing! There are only a few ingredients but they all work so well together. There’s a hint of sweetness from the honey; a little saltiness from the soy sauce; a slight sourness from the sherry; aromatics thanks to the ginger, garlic and sesame oil, and a hint of heat from the chilli. I always add a little chilli to this sauce, but of course, if you don’t like the heat you can leave this out altogether.
Much as I love a Chinese takeaway, I’m always slightly disappointed when I open the container. The flavour is normally fine, but unless you are lucky enough to have a good Chinese restaurant close by (with prices to match) you often have to search through all the sauce and vegetables to find the meat. Making your own version means that there’s always plenty of beef for everyone, at half the price you would pay for a takeaway.
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for convenient takeaways every now and then, but honestly, this beef and broccoli stir fry is so quick and easy to make, you can have it on the table in less time than it takes to wait for your takeaway order to be delivered. (And there will be plenty of meat to go round)!
Why I love this recipe
I love this easy beef and broccoli stir fry for so many reasons:
- it tastes better than a takeaway and I know exactly what’s gone into it.
- it’s so quick to make – you can have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- because the beef is so thinly sliced it cooks in minutees.
- the sauce is so tasty you could almost eat a bowl of it poured over a dish of my Chinese noodles with beansprouts all by itself.
- the flavour and texture from the Chinese noodles and beansprouts has to be tasted to be believed.
So without further ado, let’s get on with making it.
What you will need
This recipe serves 4. You can easily adjust it to serve more by increasing the quantities of beef and broccoli, and adjusting the sauce ingredients.
For the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this beef and broccoli stir fry, refer to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Beef – You can use sirloin, topside, rump, flank, or even plain old frying steak. If you’re using sirloin or topside, cut the meat into steaks first. The steaks should be sliced (against the grain) into thin strips. If you place the meat in the freezer for half an hour before slicing it, it will be easier to slice it into thin strips. Otherwise, if your steak is already frozen, just slice it before it is fully defrosted. The strips of steak should be about one-quarter of an inch thick, or about half a centimeter.
I’ve allowed 120 grams of beef (that’s about 4 ounces) per person.
Broccoli – You can use either full heads of broccoli or tender stem broccoli (broccolini) for this recipe. I’ve used tender stem broccoli because I like the texture of the pieces of stem. If you are using a head of broccoli, don’t throw the stems away. Peel them, slice thinly and add to the pan with the broccoli – the broccoli stems are delicious in a stir fry. I’ve allowed 100 grams, or one cup of chopped broccoli florets, per person.
Sunflower oil – for frying the beef strips. You can use any neutral-flavoured vegetable oil for this recipe.
For the sauce
Sesame oil – In Chinese cooking, sesame oil is used for flavouring and never used for frying. It has a very strong taste and you will find that half to one teaspoonful is sufficient. If you add too much the sesame oil it will overpower the flavour of the other ingredients.
Ginger and garlic – by all means, use fresh if you have it. I tend to use crushed bottled ginger and garlic for convenience.
Sherry – you can substitute this for Shaoxing wine or even rice wine vinegar.
Soy sauce – I like to use dark soy sauce as I find the light soy is too salty for my taste.
Honey – this adds a little sweetness – you can substitute with dark brown sugar.
Stock – if you have fresh stock to hand you can use that. Once again, for convenience, I prefer to just dissolve stock cubes in boiling water.
Chopped chilli – optional, but gives a nice hint of heat. You can substitute this with the equivalent amount of dried chilli flakes (to taste).
Cornflour (or cornstarch) – this is used to thicken the sauce.
Sesame seeds – for garnish and totally optional.
How to make it
You want to have the meat and broccoli chopped up, and all the sauce ingredients measured out before you start cooking. This beef and broccoli stir fry is so quick to make you won’t have time to go looking for a forgotten ingredient once the cooking is underway.
In a nutshell, these are the preparation steps:
- Slice the meat into thin strips
- Cut the broccoli into florets
- Dissolve the beef stock cube in one cup of boiling water and stir in all of the sauce ingredients with the exception of the cornflour/cornstarch.
- Mix the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a smooth paste.
Now you’re ready to start cooking
Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and then fry the steak over medium to high heat until it just changes colour and starts to brown. The meat will not be fully cooked at this stage, but it will complete the cooking process once you add the sauce.
I like to sprinkle the steak strips with a little salt as they are frying, but this is optional and to your own taste.
Pour the prepared stock into the steak and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and stir in the cornflour mixture to allow the sauce to thicken.
Stir the cornflour in gradually – you may not need all of it. You are looking for a consistency of thick gravy.
Taste the sauce at this point, and season with salt if necessary.
Now add the broccoli, cover the lid with a pan and leave it to simmer for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender.
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A new twist on Chinese noodles
I’m a great lover of bean sprouts, and I like to use them whenever possible. I always add a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts to my Chinese noodles whenever I make a dish like this where there’s lots of gravy.
To make these Chinese noodles with bean sprouts, bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, add the noodles. Let them cook until all the bits of noodle are completely submerged in the boiling water and then add one or two handfuls of beansprouts (depending on how many noodles you are cooking).
The bean sprouts cook at the same time as the noodles (about seven minutes), but still retain their crispness.
These noodles are delicious when covered in a thick Chinese-flavoured sauce, and you have the additional advantage of adding another vegetable to your meal.
Tips and questions
If you look at a piece of raw meat you will notice the long fibres running through it.
To cut meat against the grain simply means cutting through these long fibres to make them shorter, and therefore easier to chew.
~ Lay the raw meat on a chopping board and note the direction that the fibres are running.
~ Hold the knife at right-angles to the fibres, and slice through them.
Cutting the meat in this way ensure your meat will be much more tender and less chewy than if you cut it along the fibres.
Yes, you can freeze this dish. Allow it to cook and then spoon into meal-sized plastic containers, along with the sauce. Freeze for up to three months.
To use, defrost it in the refrigerator and then warm in a frying pan until piping hot.
You can, but’s it’s best eaten fresh.
I’d make it up to the point of adding and thickening the sauce (but before adding the broccoli).
This can be left in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to three days.
When you are ready to eat it, transfer to a frying pan, bring to a boil and then add the broccoli and steam for 5 minutes as per the recipe instructions until the broccoli is tender.
Pin for later
If you would like to make this recipe for beef and broccoli stir fry, why not pin it to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it again easily. Just click on the image below.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like to try some of my other Chinese inspired dishes:
- Crispy dragon beef with cashews
- Garlic beef in oyster sauce with vegetables
- Easy Szechuan chicken with noodles
- Easy sesame chicken
Beef and broccoli stir fry – in less than 30 minutes
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- 1 pound / 450 grams beef steak topside, rump, sirloin or flank
- 4 cups broccoli florettes or use tender stem broccoli cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic use fresh, or from a jar
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons sherry or Shaoxing wine or rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
- 2 cups beef stock or use 2 stocks cubes dissolved in 2 cups boiling water
- 3 teaspoons cornflour / cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to form a paste
- ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional) or 1 small chopped chilli
- salt to taste
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Cut the beef (across the grain) into thin strips approximately ¼ inch or ½ centimetre1 pound / 450 grams beef steak
- Cut the broccoli into florettes4 cups broccoli florettes
- If using stock cubes, dissolve them in 2 cups of boiling water2 cups beef stock
- Add all the ingredients (except the cornflour) into the stock.1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, ½ teaspoon minced ginger, 3 tablespoons sherry, 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 cups beef stock, ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
- Mix the cornflour with water to form a smooth paste.3 teaspoons cornflour / cornstarch
Beef and broccoli stir fry
- Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and then fry the steak over medium to high heat until it just changes colour and starts to brown. The meat will not be fully cooked at this stage, but it will continue to cook once you add the sauce. Fry the beef in a single layer, and don't overcrowd the pan or the meat will draw moisture and boil rather than sear. Do this in batches if necessary.2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- Season the steak with a little salt as it is frying (optional)salt
- Pour the prepared stock into the steak and bring it to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and stir in the cornflour mixture to allow the sauce to thicken. Stir the cornflour in gradually – you may not need all of it. You are looking for a consistency of thick gravy.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt if necessary.salt
- Now add the broccoli, cover the lid with a pan and leave it to simmer for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is just tender.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve on a bed of white rice or Chinese noodles.sesame seeds
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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