Beef and broccoli is a staple dish that you’ll find at nearly all Chinese American restaurants or takeout places. I love beef and broccoli because (a) I can’t resist anything with tender and tasty strips of flank steak, and (b) it’s such an easy one-pan stir fry recipe that takes less than 30 minutes total. Also, if you’re a huge broccoli fan like me, you’ll love these juicy and flavorful bites of broccoli in between mouthfuls of meat and rice.
Best Tips to Tenderize Stir Fry Beef
One of the best things about this beef and broccoli recipe is the ultra tender beef. If you ever wondered how Chinese restaurants make their beef so tender, you can follow these tips:
Cut of beef: I use flank steak for this dish, but if you opt for more premium cuts then you will get beef from more tender parts of the cow. If you find pre-cut beef strips or “beef for stir fry” sold at your supermarket, that will work great here as well.
Thin cuts: You want to slice very thin cuts of beef, about 1/4 inch. For even more tender beef, you can try slicing even thinner pieces. The thinner the beef, the more tender it will be.
Slicing against the grain: Notice the long muscle fibers across the beef and how they are aligned. You should slice perpendicular to those lines, so that you are cutting through the fibers. This will result in less work for your teeth and it will make the beef taste more tender.
Corn starch: Toss the sliced beef with corn starch prior to searing, as it’ll soften and tenderize the beef. This is a common step in many Chinese dishes. Corn starch also helps the beef retain its liquids so that it doesn’t exude juices when it’s cooked.
Quick sear: Don’t overcook the beef slices — just a quick sear until they’re browned. If you overcook the beef, it will get rough and hard.
- 1 pound flank steak sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
- 3 cups small broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
Toss sliced beef in a large bowl with corn starch.
Heat canola oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Add sliced beef and cook until it browns, a few minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add broccoli and garlic to the pan, and stir. Add beef broth. Let simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While waiting for the broccoli to cook, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add the reserved beef and sauce to the pan, and stir. Let simmer for 5 minutes so the sauce thickens a bit.
Serve beef and broccoli over cooked white rice.