Sunday, July 26, 2015

Beef and Broccoli in Sweet and Pungent Sauce

     My town has one major flaw. Lots of drunks on lawnmowers. Okay, two major flaws. Drunks on lawn mowers and plastic fires. Okay, three major flaws. Drunks on mowers, plastic fires and no plows in the winter. Okay, four major flaws. Drunks on mowers, plastic fires, no plows and dogs running loose everywhere...
     I guess I'm getting off track here. My town has some serious shortcomings. The one I was trying to get to was the lack of Chinese carryout. I have to drive 30 minutes round trip to pick up carryout from the nearest Chinese restaurant. That's crazy. I have taken it upon myself to learn Chinese cooking so I can just make this stuff at home. This is a recipe for the classic beef and broccoli. The sauce was something I hadn't had before. Sweet and pungent. Not that orange sweet and sour, but something entirely different. It was fantastic. It's a bit labor intensive and bordering on a PITA, but it's totally worth trying.  Unless you live near a Chinese restaurant, in which case pick me up some egg foo young. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Beef and Broccoli
in Sweet and Pungent Sauce

via The 1000 Recipe Chinese Cookbook
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/4" slices
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • cornstarch
  • oil for frying
  • 1 pound broccoli florets (preferably fresh, but if you use frozen, defrost and drain first)
For sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
For beef 
  1. Beat egg in a bowl. Add garlic. 
  2. Dip beef in egg mixture, dredge in corn starch to coat. 
  3. In a pan (I used my cast iron skillet), heat about 1/2" vegetable oil. Add beef slices, a few at a time and fry until golden. Remove to paper towel to drain.
For sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan (you'll be using vinegar, so make sure the pan is nonreactive), bring water to a boil. Add sugar and stir. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add vinegar and cook for a minute or so. Add tomato sauce, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Stir and cook another minute.
  2. Blend cornstarch, soy sauce and cold water to a paste. Stir into sauce to thicken. 
For broccoli
  1. Steam or boil broccoli to whatever consistency you prefer.
Once the beef, sauce and broccoli are done, toss all together over low heat until sauce covers beef and broccoli evenly. Serve over white rice.

Good times!


  1. Hi there! I'm stopping in from Let's Get Real today. My father used to make Chinese food for us all of the time. He makes it less frequently, but it is always delicious. I'm looking forward to introducing this recipe to my family.

    1. I hope you all enjoy it. We really loved it and will certainly make it again!