With Christmas coming up fast and the richer feasts waiting for us just around the corner, I thought I’d give a lighter, easier recipe for the days leading up to it. If you’re like me, you have quite a bit of planning to do in the kitchen. A light, easy stir fry that makes great leftovers is always welcome around this time. Chances are, you have most of the equipment and ingredients on hand as well.

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry (Serves 4-6)

You can substitute skirt steak here if you like. Pay attention to how the meat is cut here. The thin cuts against the grain will yield that chewy tenderness we all love in a good take-out stir-fry. I also recommend the meat be just slightly frozen (maybe 15 minutes) to make cutting thin strips easier.

Oyster sauce can typically be found in the international section of your local grocery (if you’re American) or an international food market.


  • 1.5 lb. flank steak
  • 1/4 c. oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda (teaspoon here, not tablespoon)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. bacon grease, lard, or ghee
  • 6 minced garlic cloves (I’ll add more because I like garlic)
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (dried ginger is no good here)
  • 1/4 c. broth (chicken or beef)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (See note at the bottom.)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (See note at the bottom.)
  • 1 lb. broccoli, cut into 1/4″ – 1/2″ florets


  • 12″ skillet, with a lid. If your skillet doesn’t have a lid, the lid of a stew pot works well.
  • spatula
  • several bowl (regular dish bowls will do) for holding prepped ingredients


  1. Cut the steak into thirds with the grain, then cut into thin 1/4″ slices against hte grain. You should end up with lots of small, thin slices about 2-3″ wide and 1/4″ thick.
  2. Whisk 1 tbsp. oyster sauce, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, water, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Add the beef slices and toss to coat thoroughly. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes. (Basically, just the amount of time you’ll spend prepping the rest of the ingredients.)
  3. Combine olive oil, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. set aside.
  4. Whisk broth, soy sauce, remaining oyster sauce (about 3 tbsp.), and remaining 1.5 tsp. cornstarch in another bowl. Set aside.
  5. Chop your broccoli if you haven’t already. If you have stalks, cut any stalks more than 1/2″ in diameter in half length wise, then cross-wise into small pieces about 1″ long.
  6. Heat your cooking fat (lard, ghee, or bacon grease) in a 12″ skillet until just smoking over high heat.
  7. Add beef, separating the pieces as much as possible.
  8. Cook the beef without disturbing for about 2-3 minutes to let it brown on one side, then stir and continue to cook until beef is almost no longer pink, another 2 minutes.
  9. Push the beef to the sides of the skillet. Add the garlic/ginger mixture and cook for about 30 seconds, mashing the mixture into the skillet.
  10. Stir the aromatics into the beef.
  11. Whisk the broth mixture to remix, then pour into the skillet. Add the broccoli.
  12. Cover the skillet and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. (You’re not wanting the broccoli to go soft here.)
  13. Serve by itself or over rice or rice noodles.


Oyster sauce is crucial here. Don’t try to omit it or substitute it with something else. I try to keep oyster sauce and fish sauce on hand at all times since they’re essential to most stir fries.

Good soy sauce will not make you men grow breasts or your testicles shrivel into nothing. Find a good Japanese brand that contains only soy sauce (and maybe wheat) and says it’s been fermented properly. Avoid Kikkoman brand. It’s hard for me to recommend a brand, because the selection is so varied by region. The best soy sauce I ever bought was at an Asian market in Santa Clara, CA. If you have access to an international market, that’s your best bet.

Selected References

  • America’s Test Kitchen.Vegetables Illustrated (2019). Penguin Random House Publications. IBSN: 978-194-52-6738