Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
This dish certainly has its roots in Chinese cuisine, but it is very much a Westernized dish, especially with its use of Broccoli florets, and a somewhat heavily sweetened sauce.
It is so popular that it can be found in most Chinese restaurants in the West, even those with more traditional Chinese dishes on the menu, and there are probably few people who have never had it at least once. Indeed, this easy to prepare dish is so common and widely enjoyed that it can now be regarded as a genuine classic.
The Recipe Card below calls for White Wine to make the sauce. This is a bit of a departure from most restaurant versions of Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, and it certainly does not reflect the Chinese roots of this dish. Feel free to substitute a more traditional Chinese Rice Wine, if you prefer, but I started doing it this way many years ago and it actually works very nicely.
The first task is to blanch the broccoli. Heat a large pot of salted water on the stove and have ready another pot or basin of ice-cold water near to hand. When the water comes to the boil, add the florets. Let them blanche for a good 30 or 45 seconds and then toss in 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Stir for a few seconds and then immediately drain the pot and put the florets into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain once the florets are chilled and set aside.
Make a sauce by combing the Stock, Wine, Oyster sauce, Sugar, and a single teaspoon of cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well, making sure the cornstarch doesn’t ‘clump’ and set aside.
Pound out the steak to tenderize and then cut it into small sections. You want pieces that have a surface area roughly about the size of two postage stamps and are no more than about 3 or 4 millimeters thick. Mix together the remaining baking soda and cornstarch along with just a pinch of salt and toss the meat with the mixture, coating all the pieces well. Leave to sit for twenty minutes or so. The baking soda will further tenderize the meat and the cornstarch will give it a nice texture when fried.
When you are ready to cook, heat your pan over a moderately hot flame and add a half cup of cooking oil. When it is hot, cook the meat slices in two batches, stirring well to keep the pieces separated. As the batches get nicely browned and just a little crispy at the edges, remove the meat to a bowl.
Drain the pan of all but a tablespoon or so of oil and add the ginger. When it gives off its aroma, add in the onion and stir well for about thirty seconds or so.
Add the broccoli and stir until the florets are nicely heated through. Add the meat, stir for a few seconds more and add the sauce mixture. Continue cooking for two minutes or so until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Plate and serve immediately.
Normally, this amount of Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce will serve four as one dish in a Chinese meal. Above, I made servings for two with just fried rice as an accompaniment.
Your Recipe Card:
Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
- ¾ lb. of Beef steak
- 2 cups of fresh Broccoli florets
- 1 small Onion cut into wedges and the layers separated
- 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. plus ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ½ cup Chicken Stock
- ¼ cup White Wine
- 3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
- 2 tbsp. of finely shredded Ginger
- Blanche the Broccoli in boiling salted water for a minute or two, then toss in 1 Tbsp of the Baking Soda. Drain, and then plunge the florets into ice-cold water.
- Mix together the Stock, Wine, Oyster Sauce, Sugar, and the single teaspoon of Cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.
- Pound the steak to tenderize, then cut into roughly 2cm x 3cm pieces about 3mm thick.
- Toss the steak with 2 Tbsp. of Cornstarch mixed with the remaining ¼ tsp. of Baking Soda, and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Heat a liberal amount of oil in a pan over moderately high heat and deep-fry the beef slices, working in batches, until they are browned. Remove to a bowl.
- Remove all but a Tablespoon of Oil from the pan and add the Ginger. When the aroma rises, add in the Onion and stir-fry for a minute or so until the onions just begin to become translucent.
- Add the Broccoli and stir-fry until the florets are heated through, then stir in the meat, followed by the sauce mix. Cook for a minute or so longer until the sauce has thickened and reduced to the desired consistency, then serve immediately.