What Is Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry?

G. Wiesen

Beef and broccoli stir-fry is an Asian dish, often served with Chinese cuisine, which primarily consists of thin slices of beef and broccoli florets. These ingredients are cooked in a little oil over very high heat in a wok, a type of Asian cooking skillet with a flat bottom and steep sides. As the ingredients are cooked, some soy sauce and other ingredients are added to create a simple sauce around the dish itself. Beef and broccoli stir-fry is often served over cooked rice; the rice can be cooked again in the wok, creating fried rice to accompany the dish.

High-quality beef is not necessary for beef and broccoli stir-fry.
High-quality beef is not necessary for beef and broccoli stir-fry.

While the two primary ingredients in beef and broccoli stir-fry are not uncommon in other types of dishes, the way in which they are prepared is a signature component of this meal. The beef is typically lightly frozen to make it firmer so that it can be sliced very thin, and different cuts can be used for this dish. These very thin cuts are important for beef and broccoli stir-fry, to ensure that the beef cooks very quickly over high heat. The broccoli can be chopped up just about any way preferred, though it is usually prepared in bite-size pieces.

Peanut oil has a high smoking point and mild taste that is ideal for a stir-fry with beef and broccoli.
Peanut oil has a high smoking point and mild taste that is ideal for a stir-fry with beef and broccoli.

A wok is typically used to cook beef and broccoli stir-fry, since the flat bottom concentrates the heat in one place and its high sides allow food to be stirred about more easily. The beef is typically cooked first over high heat with a small amount of oil at the bottom of the wok. Then the broccoli and other vegetables, like onions or carrots, are cooked and ingredients that cook quickly, like garlic can be added toward the end. Soy sauce is usually added, along with some corn starch or other thickener, to create a sauce from the juice released by the beef.

Broccoli florets should be used for a beef and broccoli stir-fry.
Broccoli florets should be used for a beef and broccoli stir-fry.

Beef and broccoli stir-fry is typically served over rice that has been cooked and requires few additional ingredients. It can also be served over cooked noodles such as lo mein or chow mein noodles, which are cooked separately and added to the wok to heat through and combine them. Beef and broccoli stir-fry can also include fried rice, which can be prepared before or after the beef and other ingredients. Cooked rice is placed in a hot wok with some oil and then stir-fried for several minutes until the grains become more firm and lightly toasted. This is typically tossed with the beef and broccoli, and served together from the wok.

To make a beef and broccoli stir-fry, look for bright green broccoli with small, unopened florets and no yellow discoloration.
To make a beef and broccoli stir-fry, look for bright green broccoli with small, unopened florets and no yellow discoloration.

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