A savory beef dish that hits all the right notes and can be on your table in less than 30 minutes.
One of the things I try to do with my blog is make authentic Chinese food easy for you to make in your kitchen. When cooking a different cuisine, it’s often our perception that it’s harder because it’s not familiar. I want to make Chinese cuisine more familiar with this ground beef stir fry, a dish you can have hot on the table in under 30 minutes. It’s incredibly delicious. Enjoy it with rice to soak up all the glorious sauce!
Magical ingredients for the sauce
Speaking of the sauce, one of the key ingredients I use in the sauce is fermented. Not only does it give you more gut-friendly probiotics in your diet but it helps make the taste extra rich.
You have a few choices for fermented items to add to the sauce:
1. Fermented black beans
In Chinese, we call them Douchi (豆豉). These cooked black soybeans are fermented in salt water and give anything you cook with them that deep umami flavor. It will take this simple stir fry to the next level without any extra work. You can find them in an Asian market or order them online (shop on Amazon or The Mala Market).
Doubanjiang (豆瓣酱) is a spicier option. It’s a fermented paste made with dried fava beans and chili peppers as the main ingredients. It’s aged for as little as a year to up to 8 years and is very savory, salty, and spicy. It’s used in many Sichuan dishes. Use this one if you want your ground beef stir fry to have a kick to it. Shop for it on Amazon or The Mala Market.
3. Sui Mi Ya Cai
In English, it’s called preserved mustard greens. Sui Mi Ya Cai (碎米芽菜) is used in dan dan noodles. It’s made from a very specific type of bean sprout – cardamine – which is native to Sichuan. Once it’s dried, it’s flavored with a variety of spices and sugar and then fermented. The taste is full umami that ranges from sweet to salty to savory. You can use this as your fermented ingredient if you can find it at your local Asian market or order it online.
One more note
Another thing you should know about this ground beef stir fry is that the other ingredients are flexible, too. Once you choose a fermented ingredient for your sauce, you can customize this dish to use ground chicken, turkey, or pork.
Something else you’ll love about this dish, besides its savory taste, is that you can cook it all in one large non-stick skillet. That means less clean-up for you, which is always a win. Top it on some steamed rice, and you’ll have a dinner ready that is not only bursting with flavor but also full of nutrition.
I hope you love this quick, easy, and delicious homestyle Chinese dish. Try it out tonight!
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
Ground Beef Stir Fry with Celery
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 cup minced onion from 1/4 onion
- 1 carrot , peeled and sliced
- 4 celery sticks , sliced
- 1 lb (450 g) ground beef (or other ground meat) (*Footnote 1)
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans (or Sui Mi Ya Cai, or Doubanjiang, or bottled black bean sauce) (*Footnote 2)
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger , minced
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook and stir until tender and lightly golden on the edges, 5 minutes or so.
- Move all the ingredients to one side of the pan and add the ground meat to the other side. Chop the meat into smaller chunks using your spatula. When the surface of the beef has mostly turned white, mix everything.
- Add the fermented black beans, garlic, and minced ginger. Mix everything again.
- Pour in the Shaoxing wine and light soy sauce. Cook and stir until the meat is cooked through. Carefully taste the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and stir to mix, if needed.
- Transfer everything to a large plate. Serve hot as a main with steamed rice or boiled noodles.
- To make this dish gluten-free, use fermented black beans or Sui Mi Ya Cai instead of Doubanjiang. Use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Ground chicken, ground turkey, and ground pork all work very well in this recipe.
- These ingredients add a ton of umami into the dish and make it truly flavorful. Sui Mi Ya Cai is a special Sichuan pickle that is a key ingredient in Dan Dan Noodles. Doubanjiang is a spicy fermented bean paste used in Mapo tofu. If you don’t have any of these ingredients, replace them with 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
Questions and Reviews
I love cooking with fermented black beans – I’ve always got a jar in my fridge. This is such a great quick and easy recipe. And so much great flavor!
Maggie!! 2 words….WOW and Amazing! I made this for dinner tonight (I used the Doubanjiang) which I’d bought from Amazon (using your link..thank you…… in anticipation of making this recipe. It was so good and flavorful. I will be making this regularly. It paired very nicely with my Jasmine rice. I will be trying to the pork fried rice later this week. 🙂
Over the past week I’ve prepared your Beef & Broccoli, Chili Garlic Shrimp, Stewed Beef with Potatoes, Beef Fried Rice and your Pineapple Chicken (today). The outcomes weren’t perfect but everyone in the house was happy with my efforts.
Tomorrow I intend to have this one: Ground Beef Stir Fry with Celery.
My only problems are that light soy sauce is unavailable at my location and I’m running out of sherry.
I’m enjoying this.
Hi Peter, I’m so happy you cooked many of my recipes! Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy this dish as well 🙂
Overdid it a bit.
I had 20oz. of beef and and the last very large carrot and didn’t moderate the other ingredients.
Anyway the flavour was surprisingly good.
I am really pleased with the economy and speed of these meals.
Your Pressure Cooker Curry Beef Stew is next!!
I used one tablespoon of store bought Douchi and one of Doubanjiang (from Amazon). Other than that I cut the celery into 3 or 4 strips lengthwise then into pieces about 2 inches long and the carrots into cubes. We had local (grown in Trinidad) lettuce with your celtuce sauce on the side. The final result looked well and tasted great.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to have a delectable meal. A great dish bursting with flavor. I opted for the rice this time, but I can’t wait to have it with noodles. I need to consult with my Chinese girlfriend, but I feel it would go great with Ho Fun noodles and chili oil as toppings.
Thank you for sharing this dish. Will definitely make it again!