Beef & Broccoli (牛肉炒西蘭花)

Learn how to make Chinese restaurant quality Beef & Broccoli at home!

Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Broccoli & Beef is believed to originate from a Chinese dish called "Gai Lan Chao Niu Rou" (芥兰炒牛肉)- also known as Chinese Broccoli Fried Beef. Early Chinese immigrants could not find Gai Lan (Chinese variant of broccoli) in the US and so the broccoli that we know today became an easy substitute.

It is believed that the first versions of the dish were prepared by Chinese immigrants who had settled in San Francisco sometime after the 1920's when broccoli was introduced by immigrants from Messina.

Fun fact: Broccoli became popular in the US around that time as well! Over time, this recipe became popular all around the world for its nutrition and tender beef texture.

Here's my dad's recipe where you can make Chinese restaurant-level Broccoli & Beef in your own kitchen!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
    Main Ingredients
  • 12 oz beef (

    For a vegetarian option, use vegetables with low water content, such as root vegetables.

    )
  • 1 lb broccoli
  • 0.50 carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 1 stem scallions
  • Marinade Ingredients
  • 1 tsp baking soda (

    you can tenderize meat physically by hammering the meat with a meat mallet.

    )
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • Extra Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp extra oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Broccoli in Cantonese is sāi gaai làahn which ironically in English, means "Western Chinese Broccoli". Since early Chinese immigrants couldn't find Gai Lan in the US, broccoli became an easy substitute. It's believed that the first versions of broccoli beef were prepared by Chinese immigrants who had settled in San Francisco. Nowadays, this dish is a staple of Chinese cuisine around the world.

Find the grains of the beef (12 oz) and cut against it. Do not cut the beef too thinly because thin meat will break easily during the cooking proccess.

Place the meat in the bowl of water to wash the blood from the meat. To make this go faster, massage the meat in water. Once washing is completed, place the meat in a strainer to strain excess water and blood.

If you skip this step, the meat would turn black from the blood and not look appetizing.

Using baking soda with meat is a common technique in Chinese cooking. It helps tenderize the beef. Depending on the weight of the meat, you will need to adjust the amount of baking soda. In this case, add baking soda (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), water (2 tbsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cooking wine (1 tbsp).

Mix until incorporated.

Add the beef (12 oz) to the marinade and massage to have the meat fully covered with the marinade. Set aside and let it sit for 30 mins.

Now move onto the broccoli (1 lb) and cut it into bite-size pieces. Make sure to separate the large main stem for easier cooking.

Cut the carrot (0.50) into thin slivers for a more colorful presentation. Chinese restaurants tend to cut the carrots into little shapes to bring a more visual impact but feel free to keep it simple here.

Cut the ginger (1 small piece) into small cubes, a few slices will be sufficient.

Cut scallions (1 stem) into small pieces on a diagonal.

And mince the garlic (2 cloves).

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), water (2 tbsp), cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp).

Adjust to taste.

In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil and add a splash of oil and a generous pinch of salt. This helps to keep the broccoli green during cooking.

Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook it to your preference. Do not cook it for too long if you like a crunchier texture. If you like a softer texture, you can cook it for a longer period of time. For reference, we cooked it for about 2 minutes.

Once cooked, drain the broccoli. If you aren't going to stir-fry them immediately after, cool them with running water. Otherwise, you don't have to.

Add some cooking oil (1 tbsp) into the marinated beef and mix until all the meat is lightly coated in oil. This will seal in the juices of the meat.

Heat up the wok to the highest heat then add cooking oil (2 tbsp). Swirl the cooking oil around the wok to fully coat the bottom and sides. Pour out the excess oil.

Slowly lower the heat and put in the meat. Cook the beef for around 30-60 seconds. Or when it turns brown before flipping it.

Flip the beef and cook it for 60-90 seconds or until it's mostly brown. It's fine if it's a little red, because we will continue to cook it with the vegetables.

Once mostly cooked, turn off the heat and take the meat out from the wok. Set aside.

Add the remaining oil and stir-fry the sides.

Add the garlic (2 cloves) and ginger (1 small piece) first and fry for 20-30 seconds. Put in the scallions (1 stem) and carrot slices (0.50) and cook for another 20-30 seconds. Once cooked, add the broccoli (1 lb). Cook for another 30-40 seconds.

Add back the beef. Cook everything together for 30-45 seconds.

Because the broccoli absorbs a lot of liquid, you can add extra water to the sauce. We suggest 1 tbsp if needed.

Add the sauce to the stir-fry and constantly mix for about 1 minute. Add sesame oil (1 tsp). Once everything is incorporated, add a little more leftover oil to coat the broccoli- it will make it look very appetizing.

This last bit of oil is called 'mei jau' pronounced "may-yao". This is usually practiced in restaurants.

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste! This is usually served at the center of the table and everyone can take the amount they want.

Summary

Beef & Broccoli (牛肉炒西蘭花)
Learn how to make Chinese restaurant quality Beef & Broccoli at home!
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 12 oz beef (

    For a vegetarian option, use vegetables with low water content, such as root vegetables.

    )
  • 1 lb broccoli
  • 0.50 carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 1 stem scallions
  • Marinade Ingredients
  • 1 tsp baking soda (

    you can tenderize meat physically by hammering the meat with a meat mallet.

    )
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • Extra Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp extra oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
Step 1 - Cut & wash beef↑ Jump to details

Cut the beef (12 oz) against the grain in medium slices. Wash and strain the blood out of the meat.

Step 2 - Create beef marinade↑ Jump to details

Make the sauce by mixing baking soda (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), water (2 tbsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), white pepper (0.25 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cooking wine (1 tbsp).

Step 3 - Mix beef into marinade↑ Jump to details

Add the beef (12 oz) to the marinade and massage to have the meat fully covered with the marinade. Set aside and let it sit for 30 mins.

Step 4 - Cut broccoli & vegetables↑ Jump to details

Cut the broccoli (1 lb) into bite-size pieces.

Cut the carrot (0.50) into thin slivers, the ginger (1 small piece) into small cubes, the scallions (1 stem) into small pieces on a diagonal, and mince the garlic. (2 cloves)

Step 5 - Create sauce↑ Jump to details

In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce (1 tbsp), light soy sauce (1 tbsp), dark soy sauce (1 tsp), water (2 tbsp), cooking wine (1 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp).

Step 6 - Boil broccoli↑ Jump to details

Boil the broccoli with a little bit of oil and salt and cook it to your preference. Drain once cooked.

Step 7 - Cook beef↑ Jump to details

Add some cooking oil (1 tbsp) into the marinated beef and mix until all the meat is lightly coated in oil. This will seal in the juices of the meat.

Heat up the wok to the highest heat then add cooking oil (2 tbsp). Swirl the cooking oil around the wok to fully coat the bottom and sides. Pour out the excess oil.

Slowly lower the heat and put in the meat. Cook the beef for around 30-60 seconds. Or when it turns brown before flipping it.

Flip the beef and cook it for 60-90 seconds or until it's mostly brown. It's fine if it's a little red, because we will continue to cook it with the vegetables.

Once mostly cooked, turn off the heat and take the meat out from the wok. Set aside.

Step 8 - Stir-fry vegetables & beef↑ Jump to details

Add the remaining oil and stir-fry the sides.

Add the garlic (2 cloves) and ginger (1 small piece) first and fry for 20-30 seconds. Put in the scallions (1 stem) and carrot slices (0.50) and cook for another 20-30 seconds. Once cooked, add the broccoli (1 lb). Cook for another 30-40 seconds.

Add back the beef. Cook everything together for 30-45 seconds.

Because the broccoli absorbs a lot of liquid, you can add extra water to the sauce. We suggest 1 tbsp if needed.

Step 9 - Add sauce & stir-fry everything↑ Jump to details

Add the sauce to the stir-fry and constantly mix for about 1 minute. Add sesame oil (1 tsp). Once everything is incorporated, add a little more leftover oil to coat the broccoli- it will make it look very appetizing.

Step 10 - Taste test & plate↑ Jump to details

Taste to adjust the flavors and plate once it's to your taste!

Step 11 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 12 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.