Classic Pepper Steak Recipe

If you are looking for a dish that is packed with flavor but is also easy to make, look no further than this classic pepper steak recipe! The recipe developer, Milena Manolova, says, "While it may sound and look like a complex dish, making pepper steak at home is surprisingly simple. Pepper steak is a classic dish loved by people all over the world. It's made with tender beef, colorful bell peppers, and a flavorful sauce that's packed with umami. The steak is seared to perfection, and the bell peppers and onion add a touch of sweetness. The sauce is savory, sweet, and slightly spicy. It's hearty and filling, making it perfect for a cold winter night."

The soy sauce in the sauce infuses a rich umami note, while the paprika lends a subtle smokiness. Fresh garlic and ginger add a vibrant, aromatic punch, harmonizing perfectly with the tomato paste for a satisfyingly robust base. A touch of brown sugar balances the flavors with a hint of sweetness.

This classic dish is incredibly versatile. You can customize it by adjusting the level of spiciness or sweetness to suit your taste. You can also experiment with the choice of protein, such as using chicken or tofu instead of beef, to accommodate various dietary preferences. If you are looking for a gluten-free option, you can substitute the soy sauce with tamari.

Gather all the classic pepper steak ingredients

Have all the ingredients ready so that you don't miss anything while cooking. You will need fresh-cut flank steak, mixed bell peppers, yellow onion, green onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, fresh ginger, garlic, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, vegetable oil for cooking, and some water.

Step 1: Make the sauce

In a bowl, whisk soy sauce, paprika, salt, black pepper, minced garlic cloves, minced ginger, tomato paste, and brown sugar.

Step 2: Marinate the meat

Toss the sliced meat with the marinade, making sure it's all coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to overnight.

Step 3: Make the cornstarch slurry

Before cooking the meat, make the cornstarch slurry by whisking the water with the cornstarch. Set aside.

Step 4: Cook the veggies

In a hot skillet, add the vegetable oil, onion, and bell peppers. Cook on medium to high heat until the vegetables are soft but still have their shape, about 3–4 minutes.

Step 5: Cook the meat with the veggies

Add the meat and its marinade to the skillet. Mix it with the veggies.

Step 6: Add the cornstarch slurry

Pour over the cornstarch slurry and mix until incorporated.

Step 7: Cook for a few minutes

Let cook on low to medium heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Step 8: Add green onion

Sprinkle on the green onion and turn off the stove.

Step 9: Serve

Serve hot.

How do you store classic pepper steak?

Allow the cooked pepper steak to cool to room temperature before storing. Use an airtight container to store the pepper steak in the fridge for up to 3–4 days. If you don't plan to consume the leftovers within a few days, consider freezing them. Place the portions in airtight containers or freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. Label the containers with the date for reference. Pepper steak can be stored in the freezer for up to 2–3 months.

When you're ready to enjoy the leftover pepper steak, you can thaw it in the refrigerator for a few hours. Alternatively, you can reheat it from frozen, but it may take a little longer. To reheat classic pepper steak, you can use a microwave, stovetop, or oven. Remember that repeated reheating and cooling can affect the texture and flavor of the dish, so try to reheat only the amount you plan to consume to minimize the chance of having leftovers.

Can you prep classic pepper steak in advance?

Yes, you can make parts of the pepper steak in advance. Cut the steak into strips and marinate it for a few hours or overnight, allowing the flavors to infuse. Slice the bell peppers and onions and store them separately in airtight containers. This can save time when you're ready to cook the dish. You can also prepare the sauce components even more in advance. Mix the ingredients for the sauce and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator until you're ready to marinate the meat.

When you're ready to enjoy the classic pepper steak, simply heat a skillet, add the prepped ingredients, and stir-fry them until the steak is cooked and the vegetables are tender. If you'd like to take the preparation a step further, you can partially cook the steak and set it aside. Then, when you're ready to serve, you can quickly stir-fry the partially cooked steak with the prepped vegetables and sauce for a speedy meal.

How should you serve classic pepper steak?

One of the most common and traditional ways to serve classic pepper steak is over a bed of steamed white, brown, or even fried rice. The savory sauce of the pepper steak complements the rice beautifully. You can use other grains like quinoa or couscous for a different twist. Noodles are also a popular choice. The rice or noodles help to soak up the delicious sauce without taking away from the flavor of the dish. Roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts can also add an interesting twist and more flavor.

If you prefer a lower-carb option, serve the pepper steak on its own or with a side of steamed vegetables. This dish can also be served with a variety of side dishes, including egg rolls, spring rolls, or a simple cucumber salad. If you're serving this dish to a group, consider presenting it family-style. Place the pepper steak in a large serving dish and let everyone serve themselves with the addition of some of the sides we suggested here.

Classic Pepper Steak Recipe
5 from 19 ratings
Classic pepper steak is all about balance, and this recipe hits the bullseye with a blend of sweet, spicy, and umami notes in a quick-to-make stir-fry.
Prep Time
1.17
hours
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
2
people
Plate with pepper steak in a brown sauce with a fork inside
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon packed minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ pounds flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, half-moon sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, cores removed, sliced
Directions
  1. In a bowl, whisk soy sauce, paprika, salt, black pepper, minced garlic cloves, minced ginger, tomato paste, and brown sugar.
  2. Toss the sliced meat with the marinade, making sure it's all coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  3. Before cooking the meat, make the cornstarch slurry by whisking the water with the cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. In a hot skillet, add the vegetable oil, onion, and bell peppers. Cook on medium to high heat until the vegetables are soft but still have their shape, about 3–4 minutes.
  5. Add the meat and its marinade to the skillet. Mix it with the veggies.
  6. Pour over the cornstarch slurry and mix until incorporated.
  7. Let cook on medium to low heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
  8. Sprinkle on the green onion and turn off the stove.
  9. Serve hot.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 751
Total Fat 38.4 g
Saturated Fat 10.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 192.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.6 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Total Sugars 17.8 g
Sodium 1,982.7 mg
Protein 65.6 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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