Ok, I think it's the most cliche thing EVER to say that you just love takeout Chinese but it's SUCH an indulgence because do you KNOW how many calories and grams of sodium are in it but OH it's just so good and sometimes you just NEED IT, amirite?
Skinny people say that. People who "indulge," once every two years. Which, to be fair, is probably closer to the definition of splurging than "twice a month," but whatever. We actually rarely eat Chinese takeout not for any of the above reasons but we just have a long list of other takeout food that we like better. Middle Eastern, Indian, and Pizza, in that order, are our favs. Indian might be first, actually.
We DO like greasy Chinese, because who the hell doesn't, and also every time I think of beef and broccoli I think of Jennifer Connelly in He's Just Not That Into You saying "sure I can't interest you in some beef and broccoli?" right after she banged Bradley Cooper in his office while Scarlett Johansson is waiting IN HIS CLOSET because she's having an affair with him. Literally the first thing that comes to mind every time I hear the name of the dish. Jenn has a weird accent after she bangs Bradley Coopers in their offices.
So we need an easy beef and broccoli recipe. Because it's easy to make at home, involves veg+protein+carb, and is effing delicious.
For this easy gluten free beef and broccoli you need a piece of steak, some broccoli, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, corn starch, and sriracha or other hot sauce. If you hate spicy stuff you can skip the sriracha, but a teensy bit adds a nice garlicky flavor without the spice - so try it and add more to make things more spicy.
First, we'll start on the steak for beef and broccoli. The steak needs to be sliced really thinly, and I like to do that by sticking the steak in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Then, use a really sharp knife to thinly slice the steak, almost shaving it. Add the steak to a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and the rice vinegar - just for a very quick marinade.
While the steak is resting, combine the rest of the sauce ingredients with the cornstarch. Use a fork to whisk everything together until it's really smooth, then set aside.
Now, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat with a little bit of oil, and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Don't throw away the stems! They're perfectly edible and delicious.
When the oil in the skillet is very hot, we're ready to cook the beef and broccoli - everything moves pretty quickly now. Add the steak to the hot oil in one layer - it should sizzle a lot!
Let the beef cook until browned, then flip it over. This will go very quickly, maybe a minute or two on each side. If you have a small skillet you may need to cook the beef in two batches. When the beef is cooked, remove it to a dish to rest.
To the same skillet and the beef drippings, add the broccoli. Let the broccoli cook for 3 minutes alone until it just starts to turn bright green.
Then, pour in the sauce! The sauce should bubble and thicken right away, thanks to the cornstarch. If it gets VERY thick, just splash in a little bit of water.
When the sauce has thickened, add the beef back to the broccoli. The broccoli will still be about half raw at this point, but it'll cook quickly in these last few minutes. Whatever you do, don't wait until the broccoli is done to add the beef. If you do that, the broccoli will keep cooking while the beef heats back through and become mushy and awful. Mushy broccoli is why kids don't like broccoli, I'm convinced of it.
Now, while the sauce is heating the beef through, taste the sauce. If you'd like more salt, add some more soy and oyster sauce - just a teaspoon or so at a time. If you'd like a thinner sauce, add more water. If you'd like more spice, it's sriracha! You get the gist. Adjust the sauce to your taste.
When the sauce tastes perfect, we're ready to eat! I love this with plain white rice, but obviously brown rice or even quinoa would be fine if you're feeling healthy.
Happy Thursday dinner! Try this soon.
Easy Beef and Broccoli
- ⅔ pound sirloin or other lean steak
- 2 small heads broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce divided
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoons mirin or white wine with ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha or other garlic hot sauce plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- cooked white rice optional, for serving
- Place the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes, then very thinly slice and place into a bowl. Add the rice wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. Stir to coat the beef, and let marinate for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine ½ cup water with the corn starch, mirin, and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce with a fork until very smooth. Add the sriracha and oyster sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok to medium-high heat with the oil. When the oil is very hot and nearly smoking, add the steak in one layer and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning once, until browned, crispy at the edges, and just barely cooked through. Remove the steak from the skillet, reserving any juices, and turn the heat on the skillet to medium.
- Add the broccoli to the skillet and let cook in the steak drippings for 2 minutes. Stir the broccoli. When the broccoli starts to turn bright green, pour in the sauce - it should bubble and start to thicken almost immediately. If the sauce gets too thick too quickly, reduce the heat and pour in a bit more water to thin the sauce. Let the broccoli cook for just one more minute, then stir in the beef and any juices.
- Taste the sauce and add more oyster sauce for salt or sriracha for spice. Keep adding water as needed to keep the sauce a smooth consistency. The broccoli should be tender but still crunchy. Serve over rice, and enjoy!