The spicy beef stir fry is so tender and delicious. The magic is in the marinade! Find my tips below for the most tender beef stir fry. This quick and easy recipe takes under 20 minutes to make, and is perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Beef stir-fried with fermented hot peppers is a popular Chinese dish. I used my homemade fermented hot peppers. Watch the video below for how to make the most tender chili beef stir fry.
What Cuts of Beef Should I Use?
The best and most commonly-used cut for making Chinese beef stir fry is the flank steak. You can also use the more economical chuck steak, but they contain more tissues that can be chewy. Tenderloin is another popular option in Chinese stir fries, if you don’t mind a more expensive price tag.
How to Make the Most Tender Beef Stir Fry
When it comes to making a beef stir fry, the most important thing is to make sure the beef turn out tender. There are many factors that will affect the outcome. I have 5 tips to maximize the tenderness and you will see that we have incorporated all of them in the recipe below.
- Pick a tender beef cut. I am using the flank steak.
- The correct way to cut the flank steak is to cut across the grains. This way you won’t chew on the grains to cut through them with your teeth at the time of eating. You will also want to cut the flank steak really thin, to minimize cooking time.
- Long cooking time will result in overcooked beef that are too tough to eat. When cooking a beef stir fry, they are done when the beef changes colour.
- Marinate the beef with baking soda to tenderize the meat.
- Coat the marinated beef with starch and water to lock in the moisture and keep it tender during the cooking process. Before cooking, coat the beef slices with a layer of oil to prevent them from sticking together.
What Kinds of Hot Chili Peppers Should I Use?
I used fermented hot peppers in this recipe. They are very flavourful and commonly used in Chinese beef stir fries. If you are up for fermenting your own hot peppers, you can either ferment a batch of hot peppers alone or use the hot peppers in Sichuan Fermented Vegetables. If you don’t have fermented hot peppers, by all means use any fresh hot chili peppers you have on hand.
Why Does the Recipe Call for Dark Soy Sauce?
When a recipe calls for dark soy sauce, the primary goal is to add colour to the dish. In this case, if you substitute dark soy sauce with light soy sauce, you won’t achieve the same colour for the beef in the finished dish.
Making a Full Meal: Spicy Beef Bowl
I like to use this dish to make a quick full meal by serving it over rice with a side of fresh salad. This healthy spicy beef bowl takes little time to put together, and the fresh salad helps to balance the spiciness.
More Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes You Will Love:
- Spicy Cumin Lamb (Keto, Gluten-Free, Paleo)
- Creamy Braised Veal Chops (Keto, Gluten-Free)
- Keto Cauliflower Fried Rice /w Hot Dog and Eggs
- Easy Stir Fry Kimchi & Pork Belly
- Sheet-Pan Keto Zucchini Noodles and Shrimp (Paleo, Whole 30, Keto)
- Vegan Mapo Tofu
- Chinese Eggplant Recipe: Red-Braised Eggplants
Spicy Beef Stir Fry
- 1 pound beef flank steak
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon potato starch or corn starch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil divided
- 2 tablespoons chopped chili peppers I used my homemade fermented hot peppers, but you can use any fresh hot chili peppers too
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 stalk green onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Thinly slice the flank steak across the grains. Place the beef slices in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add white pepper powder, baking soda and dark soy sauce. Mix everything well with the beef.
- Add the starch and 1 tablespoon of water to the beef. Mix again to evenly coat the beef slices with the starch.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix again to coat the beef slices in oil.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add ginger, garlic, green onion and chili pepper. Stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add beef and stir for 3 minutes, or until the colour is no longer pink. Add salt and cilantro. Stir again for 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
- Cooking Oil: Chinese cooking typically uses peanut oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, or rapeseed (canola) oil. For a healthier alternative, I use avocado oil. But you can use any of these cooking oil interchangeably. I usually avoid oils with distinct flavors that may interfere with the flavors of Chinese cooking, such as olive oil and coconut oil.
- Cutting the Beef: Try placing the beef in the freezer ahead of time until half frozen. This makes it easier to slice the beef really thin.