Black Pepper Steak (黑椒牛柳)

Use a skillet to create real-deal black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Making authentic tasting stir fried black pepper steak might look intimidating, but it is easier than you think. I used to think dealing with beef in a stir fry was one of the most difficult things to do in Chinese cooking. Different from chicken or pork, beef can get really tough and chewy if you accidentally overcook it. However, once you know a few tricks, you will able to make restaurant-style black pepper steak in your own kitchen in no time.

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Best black pepper steak

1. Use a nonstick skillet instead of a wok

Even though every single Chinese cookbook insists on using a wok for stir fry, I found that a nonstick skillet works perfectly for this dish. Not only can you make beautifully charred steak with a great flavor, but you will also need less oil and the steak will not cause any sticking problems.

If you’re curious about the pros and cons of a wok, read my previous post on 10 reasons not to use a wok. And if you want to know about the perfect stir fry setup, read wok vs. stir fry pan.

2. The key for tender juicy steak

  • Choose the correct cut: I’ve tried flank steak, plate steak, boneless short ribs, sirloin, and tenderloin. All have yielded great results. If you cannot find these cuts, try to use a cut that has a finer grain and contains some fat.
  • Always cut the beef against the grain. Try to maintain the same thickness and size for each slice.
  • Always marinate the beef. The whole process will help soften the beef and add flavor. Plus the soy sauce will give the beef a beautiful char.
  • Grill the beef instead of constantly stirring. One of the reasons we use a flat skillet; if you heat up the pan really hot, it only takes 30 seconds or so to sear each side, while the inside is a little pink. Roasting the beef instead of stirring will brown the steak better.

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

3. Why you need to remove the steak once

Transferring the half-cooked steak to a plate before adding the rest of the ingredients is crucial. When you add the sauce and veggies, the pan temperature will drop significantly. So the veggies won’t be seared properly, and the sauce will reduce very slowly. Both result in a soupy dish with overcooked meat.

4. Get used to the pace of stir frying

I found that Chinese stir fry has a much faster pace than most Western cooking. When I start cooking a dish, it takes me about 5 minutes (or maybe less) to finish. This means you have less than a minute between adding ingredients. So do read through the recipe before cooking, and move quickly when you start.

One last word

Although this black pepper steak is scrumptious enough to serve by itself, I highly recommend adding a sunny side up egg to your rice bowl. I learned this pairing from Chinese diners that cater lunch for office workers. Not only does the egg add volume to your bowl, but the runny egg yolk also goes perfectly with the spicy beef. Try it once and I guarantee you’ll be hooked 🙂

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

More Chinese stir fry recipes

Happy cooking!

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.

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Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Black Pepper Steak (黑椒牛柳)


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 big servings
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stir frying
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

For a gluten free option, use tamari instead of soy sauce, and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 grams) flank steak (or plate, or boneless short ribs, or sirloin), sliced against the grain into 1/4-inch (5-mm) thick pieces

Marinade

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir fry

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine steak, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch in a medium-size bowl. Gently mix by hand until the beef is coated with a thin layer of the mixture. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Cut the aromatics and vegetables. Add the ginger and garlic to a small bowl. Add the onion and all the chopped pepper to another bowl.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet (or a wok) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the steak. Immediately spread the beef into a single layer using a pair of tongs or chopsticks. Sear for 30 seconds or so, until the bottom is lightly browned. Flip the beef with a spatula, until both sides are browned but still a bit pink inside. Turn to the lowest heat and remove the skillet from the stove. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil into the same skillet and turn to medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic. Give it a quick stir until fragrant. Add the white onion and peppers. Stir and cook for 20 seconds.
  6. Stir the sauce mixture until the cornstarch is dissolved completely, and pour it into the skillet. Stir with a spatula immediately and cook until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, a few seconds. Add back the cooked beef. Quickly stir a few times to coat everything with the sauce. Turn off heat and remove the skillet from the stove. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate so the ingredients won’t keep cooking in the hot skillet.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice or on top of boiled noodles.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 of the 2 servings
  • Calories: 584cal
  • Sugar: 17.7g
  • Sodium: 1033mg
  • Fat: 27.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.3g
  • Fiber: 2.6g
  • Protein: 47.1g
  • Cholesterol: 87mg

The post was originally published on Aug 18, 2014, and updated by Nov. 15, 2017. The current recipe contains more sauce and it’s more suitable serve over rice.

Restaurant-style black pepper steak that is tender, juicy and rich, with crisp veggies and a scrumptious sauce that goes perfectly with steamed rice. {Gluten Free Adaptable}

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I’m Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking – including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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24 thoughts on “Black Pepper Steak (黑椒牛柳)

  1. Lori

    This sounded so good, I made it just for me since I’m the only one in the house that likes peppers. It turned out delicious and juicy as promised!!! I will definitely make it again.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Lori, I’m so glad to hear the dish turned out well and you like it! If you want to enjoy the dish with the rest of your family, maybe you can skip the peppers (and add more onion), or replace the pepper with broccoli (in this case, you need to quickly blanch the broccoli and drain them well before adding into the stir-fry).
      Have a nice day 🙂

      Reply
  2. Steve

    I cooked this last weekend while my wife was away, I had plenty left over until my wife came home. All gone when I went to the fridge, my wife liked it so much I’m cooking it again this weekend. Very nice indeed.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m so glad to hear you and your wife both enjoyed the dish Steve! Thanks for taking time and leaving a comment 🙂
      Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

      Reply
  3. Deanna Flahart

    This looks really good. I will try it. Do you have a recipe for black pepper beef. My husband loves it at our favorite restaurant and I would like to make it for him at home.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      I wondered about that too..LOL. I went back and re-read the recipe three times trying to find where I missed the green onion. I used it as a garnish.

      Reply
      1. Maggie Post author

        Ooops, typo! Sorry about the mistake. I just added the green onions back to the ingredient list. But it works as a garnish as well 🙂
        I hope your dish turned you to be alright!

    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Danielle, you can use 1 pound steak and double the rest ingredients. Just make sure you use a large skillet so it won’t get too crowded when you add all the veggies.
      Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out!

      Reply
      1. Tru

        This dish was easy to follow and my family was hypnotized by the smells. We almost didn’t make it to the table! Great weeknight meal that’s so much better than take-out!
        Thank you,
        Tru’

      2. Maggie Post author

        That sounds awesome Tru! I’m so glad to hear your family and you enjoyed the dish.
        Yep, I always prefer to make Chinese dishes at home because they do taste better 😉