This classic Chinese beef and broccoli dish was one of the most highly requested Panda Express / Chinese takeout recipes, I’m really excited to finally share it! This addicting and satisfying Chinese takeout classic features tender pieces of beef and crisp broccoli covered in a savory, delicious sauce. You'll want some extra rice with this one!
Do you know how Chinese restaurant dishes always manage to have really tender pieces of meat, despite them being very lean, or typically tough, cuts? The secret to getting tender meat in stir-fries using lean cuts is actually baking soda!
How to use baking soda to get tender meat in this Chinese beef and broccoli and other stir-fries
- Use them to tenderize lean, tough cuts of beef, pork, or chicken breast. Add just a sprinkle to shrimp to give it a crispy and snappy texture!
- Don’t add too much (I use ¼ teaspoon for ½ lb of meat), or you’ll taste the baking soda
- Don’t marinade the meat for too long when there’s baking soda in it (15-30 min is good)! Otherwise you might end up with meat that is unpleasantly tender
What's the difference between light and dark soy sauce?
- light soy sauce is “regular” soy sauce — I only add the “light” description when I’m also using dark soy sauce in the recipe
- dark soy sauce is actually less salty compared to light soy sauce, and is primarily used to add the deep caramel color you see in many “brown” Chinese sauces like this one!
Check out my other popular Panda Express and Chinese takeout recipes:
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Chinese Beef and Broccoli
- ½ lb flank steak
- 10-12 oz broccoli
- 3-5 cloves of garlic
- neutral oil for cooking
- ½ cup chicken broth (or ½ cup water + ½ teaspoon chicken bouillon)
- 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (is less salty compared to light soy sauce and is used to add a darker color to the sauce — if you don’t have it, sub ½ teaspoon light soy sauce instead)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
Prepare the ingredients
- Identify the grain of the flank steak (the direction the muscle fibers are running), and slice against, or perpendicular, to that direction. Hold your knife slice diagonally to get pieces with large surface area.½ lb flank steak
- Add all the marinade ingredients to the beef, except for the neutral oil. Mix well. Add the neutral oil last and give it one last mix. Set aside to let marinade while you prep the other ingredients. (Don't let this marinade for more than 30 min! Because it contains baking soda, it can get unpleasantly tender if left in the marinade for too long.)2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- Wash and cut the broccoli into florets. Keep the stems, but slice off any dry or tough ends. Mince the garlic.10-12 oz broccoli, 3-5 cloves of garlic
- In a bowl, mix all of the sauce ingredients together.½ cup chicken broth, 2 teaspoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, ½ teaspoon sesame oil
Steam or blanch the broccoli
- Because I like to cook this all in the same pan, I just bring ½ cup of water to boil in a large pan, then add my broccoli and cover to let steam for 1-2 minutes. 1 minute if you like really crunchy broccoli, and 2 minutes if you prefer it a little softer.
- Remove the broccoli from the pan, and pour out any remaining water.
Cook the beef and combine with broccoli
- Heat up the pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoon of neutral oil. Once it's hot, add the marinated beef. Spread the slices evenly across the pan to get a good sear. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes, or until nicely caramelized, then flip the pieces.neutral oil for cooking
- Once almost cooked through, add the minced garlic and stir-fry for 1 min.
- Add the broccoli back to the pan. Give the sauce a stir to dissolve any settled cornstarch, then add it to the pan.
- Mix well. Once thickened slightly, it's ready! Enjoy with some rice.