Takeout-Style Beef & Broccoli Recipe

While ordering out for Chinese food makes a fun, delicious, and nearly effort-free way to put dinner on the table, it's undeniably expensive, but making a Chinese takeout taste alike at home is a lot cheaper. Plus, as recipe developer A.J. Forget says, "By making it yourself, you can fine-tune the flavors to perfectly match your palate while also controlling the ingredients to fit your diet and lifestyle." Okay, so you won't get a cute cardboard takeout container, but you could always purchase a supply of these online if you want a more complete takeout experience.

This beef and broccoli recipe, Forget tells us, involves a technique known as "velveting," which simply means soaking the beef in a solution of baking soda and water. The baking soda tenderizes the meat by preventing proteins from bonding when cooked and it can also help to wash away any "off" flavors, which is why Forget says it's frequently used in preparing game meats. Here, though, the intended purpose is to turn even a cheap cut of beef into something worthy of stir-frying.

Gather the ingredients for takeout-style beef & broccoli

Besides beef and some broccoli (of course), this recipe requires vegetable oil for frying plus the aforementioned baking soda for tenderizing the meat. You'll also be throwing together a stir-fry sauce made from cornstarch, two types of soy sauce (regular and sweet), sugar, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and pepper.

Tenderize the beef with baking soda

To start, stir the baking soda into a cup of water until it dissolves. Use this solution as a marinade for your beef strips, soaking them for just 15 minutes. Drain off the liquid, then rinse off the beef strips. You might not remove every last bit of the baking soda, but that's okay. Forget says, "Baking soda residue on the beef may create some foam" while you are cooking, but he tells us that this isn't any cause for alarm and will not ruin the dish.

Cook the beef and broccoli

Get out a frying pan and heat it up over a burner set to high. Once it's hot, put the broccoli in the pan with water. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil and steam the broccoli for a few minutes. When it is done, it should be bright green in color and have a texture that is somewhat tender but not too soft.

Take the broccoli out of the pan, pour the oil in, and brown the beef for a few minutes, stirring so all sides are cooked. At this point, you should return the broccoli to the pan.

Finish the dish with some sauce

To create your sauce, first make a slurry by stirring the cornstarch into ¼ cup soy sauce. "It is important to make sure the cornstarch is well-mixed before adding the sauce to the pan," Forget explains. Add all of the other sauce ingredients to the slurry (including the rest of the soy sauce) then pour the sauce over the beef and broccoli in the pan and mix it in. If you're quick, you can always make the sauce while you cook the beef. But if you prepare the sauce in advance and it has been sitting for a few minutes, you should mix it up once more before you stir it into the contents of the frying pan as the corn starch can settle to the bottom. 

Once all of the beef and broccoli ingredients have been combined, heat them up for another minute or two, stirring until the sauce gets thicker. Forget advises eating the beef and broccoli over cooked rice, although noodles are an option, as well. If you want to garnish the dish, he suggests using sesame seeds.

Takeout-Style Beef & Broccoli Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
You won't get a cute cardboard takeout container, but this takeout-style beef and broccoli recipe is easy to make, filling, and super delicious.
Prep Time
Cook Time
beef and broccoli in pan
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 1½ pounds sirloin, flank steak, or tri-tip, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3½ cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup soy sauce, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Optional Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 cup of water and soak the beef strips in this solution for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse the beef.
  3. Heat a frying pan over high, then add the broccoli along with ½ cup water.
  4. Cover the pan and steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes until it appears bright green and is somewhat tender.
  5. Remove the broccoli from the pan and pour in the oil.
  6. Fry the beef for about 4 minutes until it is browned all over.
  7. Put the broccoli back into the pan.
  8. Mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup of regular soy sauce.
  9. Stir the rest of the soy sauce into the cornstarch along with the other sauce ingredients, then add this to the pan.
  10. Bring the beef and broccoli to a simmer, then cook it for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.
  11. You may eat this beef and broccoli over rice, if desired, with an optional garnish of sesame seeds.
Calories per Serving 538
Total Fat 32.9 g
Saturated Fat 10.5 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 132.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 13.6 g
Sodium 2,390.4 mg
Protein 38.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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