Beef and Chinese Broccoli (芥蓝牛肉)

5 from 3 votes
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This beef and Chinese broccoli is so easy to put together and it uses one secret ingredient to make it irresistible! The silky tender beef is so juicy, smothered in a rich brown sauce with crisp Chinese broccoli. It only takes 20 minutes to put together. Top it on steamed rice for a hearty and healthy dinner! {Gluten-Free adaptable} 

Beef and Chinese broccoli, or Jie Lan Niu Rou, is a Cantonese classic. It is a perfect dinner option because it’s so easy to put together. Since Chinese broccoli is a special ingredient, broccoli is sometimes used as a replacement. And I think beef and broccoli is a more familiar version in the US. But if you ever shop in an Asian grocery store and can find Chinese broccoli, I highly recommend making this dish. Chinese broccoli has a slightly stronger taste and tender leaves. Once cooked, the stems turn tender and the leaves soak up the rich sauce. I have to confess that, whenever I make beef and Chinese broccoli, I devour the Chinese broccoli first and leave the beef behind.

Ingredients

How to cut Chinese broccoli

My favorite way to cut Chinese broccoli is to:

  1. Slice the stem on a bias to create small bite-size pisces
  2. Keep the leaves whole, or halve the very big ones

This way, the Chinese broccoli will be cooked through at the same rate and yield a tender yet crisp texture.

Secret ingredient

Sometimes it can be a bit boring to always serve dishes in brown sauce. That’s why I added a touch of chili oil to the sauce, and the result is AMAZING! Granted, it’s not a traditional ingredient in beef and Chinese broccoli. But it enhances the dish so much that I’d love to share it with you.

For the chili oil, I always recommended a homemade one due to its freshness and great taste. But lately, there are so many great chili oil brands popping up that I think the bottled quality is getting higher and higher. Check out the Zindrew Chili Oil, and Mr Bing Chili Crisp if you do not want to make it at home.

Mise en place

When you’re ready to cook, your table should have:

  1. Marinated beef
  2. Mixed sauce
  3. Garlic and ginger (in one bowl because you add them at the same time)
  4. Chopped Chinese broccoli

Cooking process

  1. Spread the beef on a hot pan. It’s important to leave the beef without moving it, so it sears better. If using a cast iron or carbon steel skillet, the beef won’t stick to the pan as long as you do not move it during the first minute.
  2. Once the bottom of the beef is seared, flip to cook the other side until just cooked through. You can even remove the beef when it’s still a bit pink inside, because it will continue to cook through after you cook it with the sauce.
  3. Saute the aromatics to release the fragrance.
  4. Briefly cook the Chinese broccoli.
  5. Add the sauce. 
  6. Mix everything together and serve!
Beef and Chinese broccoli cooking step-by-step

I love to serve beef and Chinese broccoli over steamed rice. The rich and fragrant brown sauce is boosted by the spicy nutty chili oil, making it so easy to gobble up a big bowl! 

Other delicious Cantonese recipes

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This beef and Chinese broccoli is so easy to put together and it uses one secret ingredient to make it irresistible! The silky tender beef is so juicy, smothered in a rich brown sauce with crisp Chinese broccoli. It only takes 20 minutes to put together. Top it on steamed rice for a hearty and healthy dinner! {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Beef and Chinese Broccoli (芥蓝牛肉)

5 from 3 votes
This beef and Chinese broccoli is so easy to put together and it uses one secret ingredient to make it irresistible! The silky tender beef is so juicy, smothered in a rich brown sauce with crisp Chinese broccoli. It only takes 20 minutes to put together. Top it on steamed rice for a hearty and healthy dinner! {Gluten-Free adaptable}
To make this dish gluten free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. Use tamari to replace soy sauce. And make sure you use a gluten free oyster sauce such as the Lee Kum Kee Green Label.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: restaurant-style
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 12 oz (340 g) beef flank steak , sliced to 1/4” (4mm) pieces against the grain (or skirt, or flat iron)
  • 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil (or canola oil)

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup beef broth (or chicken broth, or water)
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (Optional) (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 teaspoons homemade chili oil (Optional, but highly recommend)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Stir Fry

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or canola oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic , sliced
  • 8 oz (6 to 8 stalks) gai lan , stem thinly sliced, leaves cut to big bite size pieces
  • 1 ” (2 cm) ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix to coat evenly. Let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing other ingredients.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Spread the beef with as little overlap as possible. Cook without touching until the bottom turns golden brown. Flip to cook the other side until just cooked through, and the inside of the beef is still slightly pink. Remove the beef from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the ginger and garlic. Cook and stir until the edge of the garlic turns golden, 30 seconds.
  • Add the gai lan. Stir and cook a few times until the leaves just start to wilt, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Return the beef to the pan. Stir the sauce again until the cornstarch dissolves completely, then pour it into the pan. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens and coats all the ingredients.
  • Transfer everything to a big plate and serve hot over steamed rice as a main course.

Notes

  1. Dark soy sauce gives the sauce a beautiful dark brown color and a caramelized taste. Skip it if you do not have it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 280kcal, Carbohydrates: 8.9g, Protein: 28.1g, Fat: 14.7g, Saturated Fat: 3.5g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 423mg, Potassium: 552mg, Fiber: 1.6g, Sugar: 2.8g, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 17mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

Lilja Walter was a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Maggie Zhu says:

    5 stars
    I love all your recipes. Please send the mall. Tried quite a few. Thanks

  2. Eric says:

    5 stars
    Supee tasty and easy to follow. I used thin cut denver steak and it was delicious.

  3. Steve Bush says:

    Another great recipe.

  4. Hailey says:

    5 stars
    I made this the second time I saw it. It’s great! Super easy, delicious, and cheap? Recipes like this are rare. I wanted to let you know, the first time I saw this, I thought “no, I want noodles”, and I used skills I learned from you to make an absolutely delicious cabbage beef noodle soup instead. You’re amazing!

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