Among beef stir-fry dishes, this beef and pepper stir-fry is one of our favorites. It can be mild or spicy, depending on which peppers you use, and is very simple to make. Combine these two ingredients, and you have a real winner of a dish!
It’s simplicity makes it a good candidate for a regular weeknight rotation meal. With some practice, you can cook this dish using a searing hot wok to get some serious ‘wok hei’ going and bring out the flavors of the beef and peppers. Don’t forget to serve with steamed rice!
Note: this post was originally published in March 2015. We have since updated it with higher quality photos, metric measurements, and clearer instructions. The recipe is the same. Enjoy!
Let’s Talk Beef
Tender flank steak is especially tasty when sliced into thin strips and marinated. That’s what we used here, though you could also use sirloin, skirt steak, or even more affordable beef chuck.
(If using chuck, you’ll have to tenderize it using the optional baking soda in the recipe. See our how to prepare beef for stir-fry post for more information!)
Of course, you could also use more expensive cuts, but we normally save those for the grill!
With whatever cut you use, make sure you’re slicing the meat thinly against the grain. This ensures that you’re cutting the fibers of the meat into short pieces, which will make it more tender—less chewy.
Slicing beef thinly is much easier when it’s partially frozen. If you have beef from the freezer, de-frost it partially, but do not completely thaw it. Slice while it’s still firm, and you’ll get even, thin slices.
In the case of this recipe, we’re going a step further by taking our slices and cutting them into even thinner strips. This allows the beef to have a similar shape as the strips of peppers, which creates a better textural experience!
What About the Peppers?
We used long hot green peppers in this dish, along with 1 long hot red pepper (though this is optional—you can use all green peppers!).
Also known as Italian long hots or Italian sweet chili peppers, these peppers range from mild to quite spicy, depending on the batch you get.
They are a very popular item at the Chinese grocery store and also readily available at our local supermarket. They pack a ton of flavor when stir-fried at high temperatures.
If you use long hots, you’ll generally get a dish that has a medium to spicy heat level. Sometimes, you’ll get a very mild flavor, and sometimes you get walloped with spicy deliciousness!
The one caveat here before I move on is that occasionally, these long hot peppers can be VERY hot. I mean like sweat beads forming on top of your head while you’re eating them, hot! This can be the case even when the seeds are removed from the pepper.
Use your own judgment and mix in some milder peppers if this scares you. If you’d like the dish to be a lot more mild, you can substitute sweet cubanelle peppers.
If you can’t find long hots, you can also substitute Anaheim peppers.
Beef Pepper Stir-fry: Recipe Instructions
Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. For more tips, see our post on selecting, cutting, and velveting beef for stir-fries.
When you’re ready to cook, place your wok over high heat until it’s almost smoking, and add the oil.
Sear the beef until it’s just browned but still a little rare. If your carbon steel wok is as hot as it should be, the beef should not stick and you should see a nice seared color.
Turn off the heat while you transfer the beef to a bowl. Leave any oil/fat in the wok.
Heat the wok back up over medium-high heat and add the garlic, long hot green peppers, and long hot red pepper. Stir-fry for 20 seconds and then spread the Shaoxing wine around the wok to de-glaze it.
Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add the beef back to the wok along with any juices from the bowl.
If you like to have more sauce with the dish, add the chicken stock to further de-glaze the wok and reduce the liquid slightly. The cornstarch from the marinade will help thicken the sauce.
Plate and serve your Beef and Pepper Stir-fry immediately with rice.
Beef and Pepper Stir-fry
For the beef and marinade:
For the rest of the dish:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 8 long hot green peppers (de-seeded and julienned into 3-inch/8cm strips)
- 1 long hot red pepper (de-seeded and julienned into 3-inch/8cm strips)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ cup chicken stock (optional)
- Add all the marinade ingredients to the beef in a bowl, mix well, and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- When you're ready to cook, place a wok over high heat until it's almost smoking, then add the oil. Sear the beef until it's just browned but still a little rare. Turn off the heat while you transfer the beef to a separate bowl. Leave any oil/fat in the wok.
- Heat the wok back up over medium-high heat and add the garlic and peppers. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then spread the Shaoxing wine around the wok to de-glaze it.
- Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add the beef back to the wok along with any juices from the bowl. Add salt, sugar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and white pepper. Turn the heat back up to high and stir-fry for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the peppers turn darker.
- If you like more sauce, add the chicken stock to further de-glaze the wok and reduce the liquid slightly. The cornstarch from the marinade will help thicken the sauce. Plate and serve immediately with rice.