ABC Beef with Broccoli


I consider Chinese American (also known by the acronym ABC, or American-Born Chinese) cuisine to be a regional specialty—like Shanghainese, Cantonese, or Sichuanese—inspired by regional ingredients and palates. Ironically, ABC expats living in China are now opening restaurants serving the Chinese American food that they grew up with back in the U.S. There are nearly 41,000 Chinese take-out restaurants in the United States—that’s three times the number of McDonalds! In most of these restaurants, you’ll find a Westernized Chinese menu that’s takeout-friendly and usually caters to an old-school American palate, with a preference for sweeter, milder flavors and crunchy fried foods. This home-style recipe for beef with broccoli, however, is lighter in oil and salt than the heavier brown sauce version you typically get in Chinese fast-food joints.



1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons rice wine

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 pound boneless beef round steak, cut into thin strips

1 head broccoli, broken into florets

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced


2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red chile flakes (optional)

Perfect Steamed Rice (page 145), for serving

PREPARE THE BEEF AND VEGETABLES: Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, cornstarch, and white pepper in a medium bowl. Add the beef strips and toss to coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and as long as 30 minutes.

While the meat marinates, bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute, until they are bright green. Drain and rinse well under cold running water to stop the cooking.

Heat a wok over high heat and add the sesame seeds. Cook, tossing the wok, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the sesame seeds are fragrant and lightly browned. Immediately turn them into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the same wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the marinated beef, removed from the marinade, plus
all the ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the beef is lightly browned. Transfer the beef and aromatics to the bowl containing the sesame seeds, and repeat with the remaining beef (no need to add more oil). When the second batch is cooked, return the first batch, with the toasted sesame seeds, to the wok. Add the blanched broccoli and toss to combine and heat through.

MAKE THE SAUCE: Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and red chile flakes, if using, in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Add the sauce to the beef and broccoli, and quickly stir-fry to combine. Serve immediately, with hot steamed rice on the side.


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