This Beef Stir-Fry recipe with vegetables is one of those quick and easy dishes that you can throw together in minutes if you prepare properly ahead of time.
Tender beef, crunchy vegetables, and that perfectly flavored sauce you expect from really solid Chinese food (the right amount and the right consistency!) make this stir-fry an ideal weeknight dish.
Use Whatever Vegetables You Have
Chinese bok choy is the primary vegetable in this dish. Back in the day, a classic, old-school Chinese restaurant menu item was “beef with bok choy.”
This recipe was inspired by that dish, but other vegetables can definitely be thrown in—carrots, celery, red bell pepper, snow peas, cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, green onions—whatever you’ve got in the refrigerator that looks good (or that has to get used before it goes bad!).
We decided to use bok choy, bunashimeji mushrooms, and whole snap peas, but the flexibility and simplicity of this dish is the beauty of it! That’s the beauty of most stir-fry recipes, really!
We served it with steamed rice, but you can also serve this with noodles if you like.
A lot of people would agree that bok choy is crunchy, sweet, and healthy to boot, but most probably don’t realize how many varieties are available today. The various bok choy varieties are differentiated by texture and flavor.
Read more in our Chinese leafy greens ingredient page, and try the different types to find your favorite.
Keep our ingredients pages bookmarked for easy access the next time you are wandering in a confused daze through your local Asian grocery store!
Preparation Is Key!
The key to success for this beef stir-fry (or any stir-fry for that matter) is preparation! I remember when Sarah and Kaitlin were young, and Judy and I were balancing our career ambitions, family time, household responsibilities, and meal prep. It was challenging, if not completely exhausting!
To make meals easier, I used to get the cutting board out the night before the week started and prepare at least two plates each of cut vegetables and marinated meat.
They would sit, covered and stored neatly in the refrigerator ready for the wok. Then, when I got home the next day, I started the rice in the rice cooker. When the rice was almost ready, I would heat up my wok. Minutes later, we would have a hot beef stir-fry with vegetables over rice. It was the perfect comfort food after a hectic day in the “jungle.”
The end result is a healthy weekday meal that ends your day right. If you have any leftovers, heat them up in the microwave for lunch the next day for lunch!
What Cut of Beef to Use for Stir-fry?
Avoid buying pre-sliced beef for stir-fries that might be available at your local grocery store. These cuts are often tough, and the pieces are usually cut too thick.
We prefer flank steak for any beef stir fry recipe, but you can also use beef chuck steak, which should be tenderized before stir-frying. Sirloin steak also works, though you may want to save that for the grill!
With any cut, be sure to slice it against the grain. Thinner slices will make your beef more tender—the tougher the cut, the thinner you should slice it.
You can partially freeze the beef to make it firm and easier to slice. (Or if it was already frozen, slice it before it has thawed completely.) For more information on preparing beef, see my post on How to Slice and Velvet Beef for stir-fries.
Beef Vegetable Stir-fry: Recipe Instructions
In a medium bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients (water, baking soda, cornstarch, and oil) with the beef strips / slices until well-coated. Set aside for 30 minutes or overnight. For more information on preparing beef, see Bill’s post on How to Slice and Velvet Beef for stir fries.
Heat your carbon steel wok or a large frying pan /skillet on high heat until it’s lightly smoking. Spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter to coat. Add the beef, and use your metal wok spatula to spread the beef in one even layer. Sear for 30 seconds.
Turn the beef to sear the uncooked sides for another 30 seconds. At this point, the beef should be about 80% done. Turn off the heat and transfer the beef back to the marinade bowl.
Next, with the heat back on high, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok along with the ginger. Cook for 10 seconds, and add the garlic.
After 5 seconds, add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 15 seconds, giving them a good sear. Add the Shaoxing wine.
Next, add the snap peas and the bok choy. Stir–fry on the highest heat for another 20 seconds, until the bok choy begins to wilt.
Stir in your prepared sauce mixture and the beef. Gather everything in the center of the wok.
When everything comes back up to a simmer, and the sides of the wok begin to super-heat, stir–fry everything in a circular motion. The beef and vegetables should hit the hot sides of the wok. This gets you that wok hei flavor!
Pour the cornstarch slurry in the center of the wok while stirring. The sauce will immediately thicken. Work fast to stir everything together for another 20 seconds to evenly coat the beef and vegetables in sauce.
There should not be any standing sauce. Everything should be clinging to the beef and vegetables.
Turn off the heat and transfer your beef stir-fry to a serving plate. You can also dish it out individually on a bed of rice for a great one-plate meal.
Enjoy immediately! Though you probably don’t need us to tell you that.
Beef Stir-Fry with Vegetables
For the beef and marinade:
- 12 ounces flank steak (sliced ⅛-inch/3mm thick into 2-3 inch/6-7cm pieces)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, or avocado oil)
- 1 teaspoon water
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For the rest of the dish:
- 4 cups bok choy (cut into 1×3-inch (2.5×7.5cm) pieces, washed and drained)
- ¾ cup Bunashimeji or Beech mushrooms, washed and drained
- ¾ cup sugar snap peas or snow peas (washed and drained)
- ½ cup warm water (or beef stock or chicken stock)
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or mushroom-flavored dark soy sauce if you have it)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, or avocado oil, divided)
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch (mixed into a slurry with 1 tablespoon water)
- Mix together the beef with the marinade ingredients (cornstarch, oil, water, and baking soda) until well-coated. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (or overnight, if making ahead).
- Next, prepare your veggies—we're using bok choy, mushrooms, and snap peas, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
- Now prepare the sauce mixture. In a small bowl, mix the warm water (or stock), sesame oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar.
- Heat your wok over high heat until it's lightly smoking. Spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter to coat. Add the beef, and use your metal wok spatula to spread the beef in one even layer. Sear for 30 seconds. Turn the beef to sear the other side for another 30 seconds. At this point, the beef should be about 80% done. Turn off the heat and remove the beef from the wok.
- Next, with the heat back on high, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the ginger. Cook for 10 seconds, and add the garlic. After 5 seconds, add the mushrooms and stir fry for another 15 seconds, giving them a good sear. Add the Shaoxing wine.
- Next, add the snap peas and the bok choy, and stir-fry on the highest heat for another 20 seconds, until the bok choy begins to wilt. Stir in the prepared sauce mixture and add the beef back to the wok. Gather everything in the center of the wok.
- When everything comes back up to a simmer and the sides of the wok begin to super-heat, stir-fry everything in a circular motion so the beef and vegetables hit the sides of the wok.
- Pour the cornstarch slurry in the center of the wok while stirring. The sauce will immediately thicken, so work fast to stir everything together for another 20 seconds to coat everything in the sauce. (There should not be any standing sauce—it should be clinging to the beef and vegetables.) Serve!
This beef stir-fry recipe was originally published on March 10, 2018. We have since updated it with higher resolution photos, clearer instructions, information on calories & nutrition, and metric measurements. The recipe remains the same. Enjoy!