Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

beef & broccoli-2

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

This is one of my all time favourite week night dinners.

serves 2-3
takes: 10 minutes

500g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 heads broccoli
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped

1. Preheat a large wok or frying pan on a very high heat.

2. Add a few tablespoons peanut or other neutral flavoured oil and stir fry the beef.

3. While the beef is browning, finely slice the broccoli stems and chop the head into bight sized trees. Add garlic to the beef and continue to cook until well browned.

4. Add broccoli and a few tablespoons water and cover the pan.

5. Continue to cook on a high heat with the lid on, stiring every 2 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender but still a tiny bit crunchy. If it starts to burn, add a little more water.

6. Stir in oyster sauce. Taste and season and serve with chopped coriander on top.

Prepare Ahead?

You could cook in advance and reheat if you like. Just leave the coriander to add at the last minute.

Leftover Potential

Will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Reheats well and is also delicious at room temperature.

Variations

vegetarian / vegan – replace the ground beef with crumbled firm tofu or 2 drained cans of lentils. It won’t brown up as much as the beef but will still be lovely. And make sure you use a ‘vegetarian’ oyster sauce – they are available.

no oyster sauce? – replace with hoisin sauce or even sweet soy sauce. Although to be honest – oyster sauce has the best flavour here – even the vegetarian oyster sauces taste delicious.

chilli beef – add in some fresh or dried chilli.

ginger – my irishman likes to add a few tablespoons of finely shredded fresh ginger in with the garlic.

coriander-free – some people aren’t keen on coriander (cilantro). If you’re not sure, serve it on the side so everyone can add their own. Otherwise replace the coriander with fresh mint or parsley leaves.

nutty
– a handful of roasted cashews adds a different dimension and some crunch. Especially good in the lentil vegetarian option.

carb lovers / more substantial
– serve with steamed rice.

more veg – add snow peas, carrots or sliced capsicum (bell peppers).

Waste Avoidance Strategy

beef – freeze it.

garlic – keeps in the pantry in a brown paper bag

broccoli – will keep for 2 weeks or loner in the fridge. Can be frozen. Best to chop before freezing for quicker defrosting.

oyster sauce – opened bottles best kept in the fridge.

coriander (cilantro) – freeze it in a plastic bag.

Problem Solving Guide

burning on the bottom – it can be a bit tricky getting the broccoli to cook in such a dry environment. Remember to add a little water and cover the pan tightly as it cooks so the broccoli steams from the top.

too salty – oyster sauces vary in their saltiness levels. I find it rare that I need to add extra salt. For now, a little sugar can help tone down the saltiness but next time try a different brand of oyster sauce.

too bland? – add in a little more salt and pepper. A dash of lime juice or lemon juice may also bring the flavours to life.

Serving Suggestions

Great on its own. With the browned meat and veg it feels like a complete meal in a bowl.

You could serve with steamed rice or cauliflower rice if you prefer.

And it might also me nice to serve it with a curry and another stir fry as part of an Asian-ish banquet.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie May 6, 2017

Hi, Jules. My apologies if you’ve explained this somewhere else on your site and I haven’t come across it yet…Why do you add olive oil to the pan before browning? Ground beef has become more expensive here in Texas the last few years, but growing up it was a staple because such an inexpensive way to feed a family. Even with the leaner options available, I don’t know anyone who adds the oil, but instead uses the fat in the meat with no added oil, draining the excess fat when less lean ground beef is used, and not draining when a leaner beef is used. Thanks for broadening my culinary horizons!

Reply

jules May 11, 2017

Great question Melanie!
I add the oil because when the cold beef hits the pan it takes a while for the fat to render out and start doing its job of preventing the protein part from sticking to the pan/wok. I buy the fattiest meat I can and still add the oil and I never drain the fat – that’s such a waste!

If your beef isn’t sticking though you can easily skip the extra oil. I like the extra fat but know it’s not for everyone!

Hope that helps.
Jx

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Denise Pastor March 10, 2017

I made this with thinly sliced steak and broccoli and substituted the oyster sauce with Worcestershire which I always have in the cupboard, left out the cilantro, would have gone very well with parsley. A great quick meal.

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jules March 15, 2017

I would never have thought of Worcestershire sauce Denise but now you mention it, I can imagine it working really well!

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Shayna Dryanski August 18, 2016

This was the first recipe that I ever tried off of the blog, and it’s still one of my favs. I don’t tend to keep oyster sauce in the house, so I use the substitute that’s on your blog version of this recipe (1 part honey and 2 parts soy sauce). The cilantro is what really makes it for me, that bright fresh note on top. Thanks for a great adaptable recipe!

Reply

jules August 25, 2016

Yay Shayna!

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Libby Thompson September 6, 2015

Love this recipe. It’s just so simple and so tasty. We’ve had it a few times now. It is a staple week day dinner for us at the moment. When once we would have given up and bought take away when we get home a bit late – now we quickly work together to get this happening!

Thanks so much Jules.

Reply

jules September 10, 2015

Wonderful Libby!
It’s still a fave in our house too 🙂
Jx

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Meriel December 29, 2013

I made this last night and loved it! I am a bit of a broccoli-holic though! I’m also trying to quit sugar as well, and I found an oyster sauce called Chang’s. It is only 9g of sugar per 100g (much less than most other varieties which had up to 40g sugar), I figure as I’m then only using about 1.5tbsp per serving that it is pretty reasonable. Next time I’m going to pop a few cashews on top!

Reply

jules January 11, 2014

Great Meriel!

It’s lovely with cashews 🙂 and thx for reporting on your low sugar oyster sauce! The other option is to use soy sauce instead… start with less and add to taste 🙂

And good for you quitting sugar!
Jx

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Gay Davis October 19, 2013

P.S. Next time I’ve gotta try ginger!

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Gay Davis October 19, 2013

Jules, I really like this. I used Grapeseed Oil and was curious about Ghee. Maybe next time? Also I love all your suggestions for variations. Maybe cashews next time. Maybe a different herb from my garden. I found a sort of healthy version of “Lee Kum Kee / Panda Brand Oyster Flavored Sauce” in that there’s no MSG added, which is the best I could do in Austin, Texas at the Flagship Whole Foods grocery store. What in the world is oyster sauce?

This is my first global cooking class and it’s going to be really fun!

Reply

jules October 21, 2013

It’s great with the cashews Gay,

My Irishman always adds cashews to any stir fry!

Oyster sauce is this crazy Chinese sauce… some have actual oysters in it but most are ‘flavoured’ so theres no actual oysters… Lee Kum Kee is a good brand to use.

I wish we had whole foods here in Australia.. it was my saviour when I was living in California.

JX

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Liz Payne October 18, 2013

This is a favourite in our house especially with toasted cashews on top. Sadly I haven’t been able to cook it for quite some time. We have been 8 weeks (tomorrow) sugar free so I would love to find an oyster sauce with less sugar or with a sugar replacement like stevia. I just don’t think soy sauce on it’s own will be as good.

Reply

jules October 21, 2013

Liz,

I don’t worry about small amounts of sugar in things like oyster sauce when you’re only using a few tablespoons… But you could try soy sauce with just a tiny touch of stevia for added sweetness if you liked.

Jx

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Karen October 14, 2013

I also like to use ginger, but I was always buying it and then throwing it out because I didn’t use it fast enough, or forgoing it because it seemed like too much effort to make a special trip to the store for it or to peel it and mince it (resulting in stringy mush). One tip I learned was to peel it all, then freeze it (in plastic wrap/bag) and use a microplane or grater to grate the frozen ginger when you need it. It lasts forever and is much faster and easier than trying to mince fresh garlic, in my opinion. You also get nice little flakes that melt into the dish instead of large, stringy/woody chunks.

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jules October 17, 2013

Great idea Karen!
I haven’t tried freezing ginger.
Jx

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Karen October 14, 2013

This is one of our favorite go-to recipes at my house. Super simple and tasty. My only issue is the sugar and preservatives in most oyster sauce, so I’d like to find a higher quality version. Like the above commenter, I always add sambal olek (chili garlic sauce) or sriracha for spice, and it took me a while to get used to serving dishes like this without any rice or carbs, but now we are used to it in my household, so it can be done! I often buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it- any tips on how to safely and quickly defrost ground meat if I forget to take it out of the freezer in the morning before work? I might try storing more meat in Cryovac packages in the fridge for a couple weeks like I’ve seen you do.

Reply

jules October 17, 2013

Hi Karen

If you can buy meat in cryovac is makes a big difference.

When you freeze your ground beef, best to put it into smaller bags so there’s 1-2 servings in each. This will help to defrost faster.

Then if you get stuck, what I do it put the package in warm-hot water from the tap for 5 minutes or so just to loosen the plastic. I then put it in a hot pan with the lid on and stir to break it up. It’s not ideal because some meat can get overcooked while you’re getting the middle bit to defrost. So the texture can be less than ideal. But it’s safe because you don’t have raw meat sitting around in the ‘danger zone’ temperatures for more than 5 minutes. Which isn’t a problem.

Great question!
Jx

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Karen October 18, 2013

Thanks! I will try the warm water technique. While not ideal, I’m sure ground meat is much more forgiving with this technique than frozen chicken, which I’ve also tried.

I’m considering getting a sous vide machine (because I love how easy it is to cook deliciously tender steak, lamb, and pork chops), which requires a vacuum sealing machine as well, so maybe I can use that to “cryovac” my own meat after I buy it.

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jules October 21, 2013

Yes Karen!

I have toyed with the idea of getting my own vacuum sealing machine as well.

Jx

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Danielle Morrow August 8, 2013

Cannot wait to make this. I am so glad I found you online!

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jules August 8, 2013

It’s one of my favourites Danielle!
Enjoy

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Kim Skyring July 8, 2012

Not too long ago I served every curry and stir fry with rice. I’m over that now thanks to stonesoup recipes. Nothing better than a big bowl of veg, with just enough meat to make it interesting. I used soy sauce and Sambal olek but will seek out some oyster sauce for next time.

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jules July 9, 2012

Hi Kim
Very happy we’ve got you away from big bowls of rice!
Great idea to use sambal olek
J

Reply

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