While not authentically Chinese, this Chinese takeout beef and broccoli is one of the most popular Chinese-American dishes. These are dishes usually invented by an immigrant from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or other country with a large diaspora – but tweaked to appeal more to an American palate.
The great thing about this dish is it’s simplicity. Meat, veg, and a sauce of only a few ingredients. In fact from start to finish you can make this dish in less than 15 minutes. I guess that’s why it is such a perfect takeout recipe.
Beef and broccoli make up the two main components of this dish, obviously. But there are a few tricks I use to get that real Chinese takeout flavor in your home kitchen.
Where Was Beef And Broccoli Invented?
Beef and Broccoli is considered to have been invented in America in the mid-20th century. There is however a dispute between New York City and San Francisco as to which one had to first Chinese restaurant to offer the dish.
The dish itself is adapted from Cantonese cuisine where velveting the beef (marinating it with corn starch) is a popular cooking method. As well as the dark sauce which is quintessential Guangdong/Hong Kong.
How To Make The Best Chinese Takeout Beef And Broccoli
There are a few tricks I use at home to get that authentic American-Chinese takeout flavor. One is a cheat, and one is just an authentic necessity.
Beef And Broccoli Ingredients
500 grams Veal – Ok this is trick number one. Almost every Chinese takeout version of beef and broccoli will use flank steak. Why? It is cheap and you’re going to tenderize it anyways. But I almost always use veal since it is naturally more tender and you can skip the long marinade. Like I said, this is a cheat trick, so feel free to use regular beef if you want.
400 grams Broccoli – fresh or frozen both work. Cut into small bite size florets.
6 cloves Garlic – minced by hand. I find using a press in this recipe causes the garlic to get far too smashed and makes it burn very easily the second it hits the hot oil.
2 tbsp Sugar – regular white sugar is fine in this recipe
3 tbsp Corn Starch – half for the beef and half to thicken the sauce. Can sub potato starch if you already have it.
375 ml Chicken Stock – preferably low sodium if you use store-bought. If you make your own then just don’t add salt since the other ingredients add enough.
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
3 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp MSG – do not skip the MSG if you want that authentic Chinese-American restaurant takeout taste. It’s not bad for you, that has always been a myth
2 tbsp Chinese Rice Wine – aka Shaoxing Wine
Neutral Oil like Soy or Sunflower for frying
Scallions – optional, for garnish
Rice – optional, as a side
Slice the veal thinly and add it to a bowl with 1.5 tbsp of corn starch, a tbsp of oyster sauce, and a glug of oil. Give everything a quick massage and set aside for 5 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
In a bowl add the chicken stock, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, the rest of the oyster sauce, rest of the corn starch, and the MSG. Give everything a whisk to combine. Bring right next to the stove so you are prepared for later.
Add oil to a pan or wok on maximum heat. When it is glistening drop in the beef and quickly separate and fry it for just a minute. Thinly sliced veal cooks extremely fast, especially at these high temperatures, so don’t overcook it. Once you see no more red you’re done.
After removing the beef add in the garlic and quickly stir for just 10 seconds. Garlic burns quickly so be prepared with the mise en place. After 10 seconds pour in the wine in a circle around the edges of the pan/wok and then immediately pour in all of the sauce. The corn starch will act as a thickener giving you that authentic Chinese takeout beef and broccoli taste and texture you’re so used to.
Once the sauce reaches the desired thickness add in your broccoli and quickly toss to coat.
Lastly reintroduce the beef and toss to coat that as well.
Turn off the heat and give everything a last mix before plating. You can serve this dish with white or fried rice, or even some chow or lo mein. Enjoy!
I like to serve this Chinese takeout beef and broccoli over some simple steamed white rice, with a garnish of chopped up green onion. Although the latter isn’t very traditional it does make for an elevated presentation. You can also add sesame seeds although that’s more common in dishes like sesame chicken.
What To Serve With Beef And Broccoli
✍ White or Steamed Rice
✍ Fried Rice – either vegetarian or with a protein like shrimp or pork
✍ Noodles! Popular choices include chow mein or lo mein, although the latter already has sauce so while they are quite similar so you’ll just have a very tasty and saucy meal.
Chinese Takeout Beef And Broccoli
- 1 pan or wok
- 1 Bowl
- 500 grams Veal Ok this is trick number one. Almost every Chinese takeout version of beef and broccoli will use flank steak. Why? It is cheap and you're going to tenderize it anyways. But I almost always use veal since it is naturally more tender and you can skip the long marinade. Like I said this is a cheat trick, so feel free to use regular beef if you want.
- 400 grams Broccoli fresh or frozen both work. Cut into small bite size florets.
- 6 cloves Garlic minced by hand. I find using a press in this recipe causes the garlic to get far too smashed and makes it burn very easily the second it hits the hot oil.
- 2 tbsp Sugar regular white sugar is fine in this recipe
- 3 tbsp Corn Starch half for the beef and half to thicken the sauce. Can sub potato starch if you already have it.
- 375 ml Chicken Stock preferably low sodium if you use store-bought. If you make your own then just don't add salt since the other ingredients add enough.
- 1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 3 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 2 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tsp MSG
- 2 tbsp Chinese Rice Wine aka Shaoxing Wine
- Neutral Oil like Soy or Sunflower for frying
- Scallions optional, for garnish
- Rice optional, as a side
- Start by thinly slicing your veal and placing it in a bowl with 1.5 tbsp of corn starch, a tbsp of oyster sauce, and a glug of oil. Massage everything together and set aside.
- In a bowl whisk together the chicken stock, dark and regular soy sauce, sesame oil, MSG, the rest of the oyster sauce, and the sugar. Bring next to your stove to be prepared.
- In a pan or wok and oil to coat the bottom and turn the heat on max. When the oil is glistening add in the beef and quickly fry it for just a minute. Don't overcook it. Once you no longer see any red remove it and set it off to the side.
- Add in the garlic and stir it in the pan for 10 seconds, then add in the rice wine around the edge of the pan, and immediately pour in the sauce. You need to be prepared and do all this quickly otherwise the garlic will burn and make the dish gross.
- Let the sauce come up to a boil which will naturally thicken it due to the corn starch. This takes only a couple minutes. Once you get the nice shiny thick sauce, add in the broccoli and quickly toss to coat. Then re-add in the veal and mix again to coat everything. Turn off the heat and serve the beef and broccoli with some rice or noodles, or whatever you prefer!
Chinese Takeout Beef And Broccoli
Popular Chinese Recipes (Authentic And American)
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