Broccoli Beef

by Apr 5, 2022

My son and I adapted this recipe from a Cook’s Illustrated page I ripped and filed from the September & October 2003 issue, before he was born! So my file of paper recipes is good for something after all!

We used a wok, but a big skillet will do. Put the effort into getting everything prepped—”mise en place” as they say—the cooking happens very quickly. So, get a pot of rice cooking and slice the beef so it can marinate while you get the sauce mixed and vegetables prepped. Reserve the green scallion tops for garnish.

Broccoli Beef

adapted from Cook's Illustrated, September & October 2003

Servings 4 people


Beef and cooking

  • 1 ½ pounds beef steak (flat iron, flank, sirloin, or even skirt works), cut into 3-inch pieces with the grain then across the grain into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, divided or other high-heat cooking oil


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce light or regular
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water


  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce light or regular
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or substitute regular soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or substitute sake or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sake
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

Vegetables and finishing

  • 2 or 3 heads broccoli, cut into florets, large ones cut in half use the stems too, peel and cut into thin slices
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided or other high-heat cooking oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced and mashed
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane
  • 3 scallions, white part chopped, greens thinly sliced on the diagonal and reserved for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


Marinate Beef and Mix Sauce

  1. Mix marinade with beef strips in bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  2. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a glass measuring cup or jar and set aside.

Blanch the Broccoli

  1. Bring a big pot of water to boil or use your wok. Add broccoli pieces and bring back to boil. Cook for 3 minutes until tender crisp. Transfer to a plate. (Do not overcook your broccoli or you will be sad.) Dump out water and thoroughly dry wok.

Stir Fry

  1. When ready to cook, heat the wok and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry the beef in two batches, letting the pieces sizzle on the hot pan—don't move them around too much, but get the pieces seared and just shy of being cooked to your liking—edges should begin to brown. This will go quickly, about a minute or two per side depending on the size of your pieces. Transfer to plate and repeat with additional tablespoon of oil and remaining beef.

  2. Add fresh peanut oil to wok (about a tablespoon). Fry the chopped garlic, ginger, and white part of scallions for 20–30 seconds then add back the broccoli and the beef. Stir the sauce then pour it over everything in the wok and stir fry a minute or two to thicken the sauce. Drizzle in the sesame oil and toss.

  3. Serve with rice and sprinkle some green scallion slices on top. Enjoy!

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