A couple of days ago on Twitter, I got a tweet from one of my readers:
@GoldTamar: still have no power, any stovetop dinner suggestions that are extremely low carb and few ingreds?
I suddenly remembered a recipe I developed several months ago for Chinese Broccoli Beef. My stepdaughter loves Chinese food, so from time to time I like to create Chinese-style recipes using everyday pantry ingredients. I prefer this to ordering takeout, because I know exactly what is going into my food. When I make it myself, I can use whole, organic ingredients; it also gives me more control over the sodium content. This broccoli beef recipe is something I came up with during one of my Chinese cooking experiments. It’s a quick and easy meal that my family really enjoys. The whole dish is made on the stovetop and takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. It’s pretty darn tasty. In fact, my stepdaughter’s friend from school came over recently, and he asked if he could try the broccoli beef. He told me it’s “five star quality” and that I should “own a restaurant.” I told him that he’s welcome to visit our house anytime, rain or shine.
Chinese cooking is not my area of expertise, but I have learned a few of the basics over the years. I developed this recipe after looking at several different Chinese recipes and cooking techniques. After trying some recipes and learning what works and what doesn’t, I took the best elements of each and combined them to create my own version of this classic dish. It was important to me that the recipe include easy-to-find ingredients from the grocery store– and no oyster sauce, because oysters aren’t kosher. A lot of broccoli beef recipes use oyster sauce for flavor, but this version doesn’t need it. The flavor comes from the spices, fresh ginger, orange juice, and optional sherry. Tenderizing the meat with baking soda is a Chinese technique; it helps to give the meat that soft, velvety texture you get in Chinese restaurants. It took me several tests to get the recipe exactly right. I’m super happy with the result!
While this isn’t an extremely low carb dish (the sauce contains a little brown sugar and orange juice), you can cut down the carbs by cutting the sugar in half– the dish will have a more savory flavor that way. On the other hand, if you’d like to make it a sweeter dish, add up to 2 1/2 tbsp of brown sugar. I like it both sweet and savory… it’s delish either way. Don’t cut the sugar completely, you need it to balance the salty flavor of the soy sauce (and it helps to give the sauce the proper consistency). Diabetics may be able to use Splenda brown sugar as a sub; I haven’t tried it myself, though.
I’ve offered both kosher and non-kosher meat cut options below. Keep in mind that the most important thing, with any cut of meat, is to make sure it’s sliced very thin. Thin slices will cook quickly and produce a more tender result.
To all my east coast readers who are still without power, hang in there! I with there was more I could do from here. Hopefully providing an easy stovetop recipe will help, in some small way. I’m headed to New York in a few days, fingers crossed my hotel has power!
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Easy Gluten Free Modification – substitute GF tamari sauce for soy sauce; make sure all packaged ingredients are certified GF.
- 1 lb beef top sirloin steak, boneless ribeye steak, or minute steak (see kosher meat note below)
- 1 lb broccoli florets (about 2 lbs whole head broccoli, cut from the stalks into medium sized florets)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce, divided
- 1 tbsp dry sherry (or substitute 1 tbsp orange juice)
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp cornstarch, divided
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or peanut oil, divided
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp fresh minced ginger (or ½ tsp dried ginger spice)
- 2 cups steamed brown rice or quinoa (optional)
- Kosher Meat Note: Kosher top sirloin is pricey and difficult to find, so if you’re keeping kosher, you can also use boneless ribeye steak or minute steak. The term “minute steak” has two different meanings for kosher and non-kosher butchers. Traditional minute steak is a non-kosher cut that is tenderized and will cook quickly. A kosher minute steak is a different cut, known as a flat iron blade steak; it also cooks quickly. Both kosher and non-kosher minute steaks may be used in this recipe. Charcoal chuck steak (boneless) may also be used. The most important thing with all cuts is to slice the meat very thin against the grain, and trim away any excess fat.
- Cut beef across the grain in very thin 2-inch strips, trimming excess fat from the meat as you go.
- Put the beef in a bowl and sprinkle with baking soda. Work the baking soda into the meat with clean fingers, mixing it to coat all pieces of meat evenly. Let the meat sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp dry sherry or orange juice, 1 tbsp cornstarch, ½ tsp garlic powder, pinch of cayenne (use a large pinch for more heat), and 1 tbsp of grapeseed or peanut oil.
- Rinse the meat thoroughly and pat dry. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir till the meat is well coated. Let the beef marinate for 10-15 minutes.
- While meat is marinating, place the broccoli florets in a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium, and steam the broccoli for 7-8 minutes till tender, but not overly soft.
- Drain broccoli immediately and spray with cold water to cool. Shake off excess water and set aside.
- Whisk together 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp brown sugar, ¼ cup water, 2 tbsp orange juice and 1 tsp fresh minced ginger. Reserve.
- Heat up a wok or large skillet over medium high till hot. The skillet is ready to fry when a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Pour in 2 tbsp of peanut or grapeseed oil and swirl it around, coating the edges. Pour the beef into the skillet or wok and spread it out across the oiled surface in an even layer. Let the meat fry undisturbed for 1 minute.
- Stir and continue to fry for 2 minutes longer till the beef turns brown.
- Scoop out the meat and place it on a plate. You should have some oil and fat left in the wok or skillet, but if it seems dry you can add a little more oil. Add the steamed broccoli and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the beef and the reserved sauce. Stir fry for 2 minutes longer, till the sauce thickens.
- Serve hot over steamed rice or quinoa, if desired.
Other Great Recipe Ideas:
Steamy Kitchen: Pan Seared Steak with Sweet and Sour Tomato Onion Sauce
Recipe Girl: Orange Chinese Chicken
Sippity Sup: Scallion Pancakes
Taste with the Eyes: Sweet Spicy Eggplant & Shishito
A Spicy Perspective: Chinese Hot Pots