Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry

Beef Stir Fry with vegetables recipe Chinese

stir fry recipeThis Chinese beef dish was my favorite childhood dinner. In the late 1970’s my mom started exploring new recipes with fresh ingredients like this Chinese stir fry dish. She started moving away from her generation’s “convenience” recipes, which utilized Lipton onion soup mix, ketchup, and Campbell’s soup. She was ahead of her time and would have embraced the fresh seasonal food movement that is going on now. One night when I was a child, we dined at a local Chinese restaurant, and my mom noticed a cookbook that was for sale: My mom started cooking from the book, and this recipe quickly became a family favorite.

The beauty of a stir fry is that you can personalize the ingredients to your preference or what is seasonal. My mom usually made the dish with Beef and Onions, just like they made at Liu’s Chinese Restaurant in Beverly Hills. We enjoyed many Sunday night dinners at this restaurant, but sadly this first-rate restaurant is long gone. Over the years my mom and I both tweaked Madame Wong’s recipe. For a long time I kept this dish simple with Beef, Broccoli and Onions. In the current version, I added an assortment of vegetables such as broccoli, baby bok choy, Chinese pea pods, carrots, and water chestnuts. This used to be a meat-centric dish, but now meat and vegetables share the spot light. If you don’t eat meat, try this dish with tofu or fish. Serve with brown jasmine rice.

20131022-085546.jpgA variation on vegetables
A version made with salmon and mixed vegetables

A note about the beef:
Filet mignon is a very tender, expensive cut of meat. Sirloin will frequently be pretty tender if cut thinly across the grain, but sometimes is still chewy. Be careful not to overcook grass fed beef.

Make ahead tips:
I ask the butcher to slice the meat for me, which cuts down the prep time. I like to cut the vegetables and measure the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup ahead of time. I park everything in the refrigerator until I stir fry at the last minute.

Recipe type: Main dish

Cuisine: Chinese

Author: Dana @

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 4

Adapted from Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook.

  • 1 tablespoon organic cornstarch (or favorite thickener)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar (or favorite sweetener)
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sherry cooking wine or white wine
  • Scant ½ c. chicken broth
  • 1 pound beef sirloin or filet mignon, cut into thin strips (about ⅛" thick)
  • 2 pinches of kosher salt and several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5-6 cups of mixed raw vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces (such as 1 head of broccoli, 2 baby bok choys, handful of snow pea pods, 1 sliced carrot, ½ can of sliced water chestnuts and ½ medium onion cut into strips.)
  • About 1 tablespoon oil (peanut, safflower, or canola)
  1. To make the sauce: Put the corn starch, sugar, soy sauce, wine, and broth in a glass measuring cup and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Place a large skillet or wok on the stove with medium heat. Pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan and warm oil. Sauté vegetables for about 7 minutes; leave crunchy. Set aside.
  3. Place meat in the skillet and lightly salt and pepper. Brown on both sides over medium high heat. If there is significant liquid in the bottom of the pan, drain out the liquid.
  4. Add the vegetables and sauce into the skillet with the meat. Stir over medium high heat. Let the meat finish cooking in the sauce. Stir frequently. The dish is done when the sauce thickens and the meat is cooked. Serve immediately.

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