Spicy Beef Stir Fry Recipe

Whipping up a stir fry on a weeknight is one of the absolute best ways to fit in a fast, well-balanced, and delicious dinner, thanks to the combination of veggies, protein, and carbs. And when you're looking for something with a little added heat, it's hard to go wrong with a spicy beef stir fry. "This is a fantastic quick stir fry — super tasty, spicy, and full of flavor with tender beef strips. It's really great to whip up for a midweek dinner," assures recipe developer Ting Dalton of Cook Simply. And because the added heat comes from the addition of a red chili, you can control the inferno in your mouth to your personal liking by using more or less of the called-for chili ... so don't be shy about taking it up to a 5-alarm mouth fire, or cutting it back to just a hint of heat. 

And in the name of a "choose your own adventure" spicy beef stir fry, Dalton also adds that swapping out or adding to the veggie lineup is perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged). "You can add other vegetables to this dish — bean sprouts, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, white onions, or even bell peppers," she suggests. So go ahead and stick with the outline of the recipe provided (especially the sauce), but give yourself some leeway to make this dinner yours.

Gather the ingredients for a spicy beef stir fry

When it comes to stir frys, especially when you're making your own sauce, the ingredient list can be fairly long, but most of the ingredients for this stir fry are readily available. Just be sure to check the international foods section of your grocery store (or head to your local Asian market) if you're having a hard time finding a few of the less-common items. 

As expected, you'll need a beef steak for this recipe, sliced into thin strips against the grain, along with cornstarch to help tenderize the beef. You'll also need cooked egg noodles, vegetable and sesame oils, ginger paste, minced garlic, a thinly sliced red chili, sliced green onions, and sliced bok choy bulbs. Those cover the bases for the actual stir fry ingredients. For the sauce, you'll need light and dark soy sauces, Shaoxing wine, and oyster sauce. If at all possible, try not to skip the Shaoxing wine, even if it's a little harder to find. "The special ingredient here is the Shaoxing wine, which adds depth and flavor — it's a real staple of Chinese cooking. If you wanted to add more depth, you could add a tablespoon to the beef, too, while it's being velveted," Dalton says. 

And if you just can't seem to locate a bottle of this rice-derived cooking wine, Dalton says you can sub in dry sherry or mirin, if necessary.

Tenderize the beef with cornstarch

Add the beef strips into a bowl and pour the cornstarch on top. Mix them together and leave them to sit for 10 minutes — this is the trick to getting those nice, tender strips of stir fry meat. "The beef is coated in cornstarch beforehand, which helps break down the fibers to make the beef tender," Dalton explains. 

Mix the sauce

While the beef is sitting, go ahead and mix together your sauce. Simply add both soy sauces, the oyster sauce, and the Shaoxing wine to a bowl and whisk until combined. As far as why you should use the combination of light and dark soy sauce, Dalton explains, "Dark soy sauce adds some color, but is much stronger in flavor, while the light adds the seasoning. This is why I choose to use both. Too much dark soy will overpower." 

Stir fry the beef strips

Once the beef has finished tenderizing, heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or skillet. When the oil is hot, add the beef and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes — just until the beef is starting to brown. When all sides are browned, remove the beef and set it aside. 

Stir fry the veggies and add the sauce

Set the burner to a medium heat and add the sesame oil, ginger, red chili, green onions, and garlic. Stir-fry these ingredients together for about 40 seconds, then add the bok choy. Stir fry for another 20 seconds, and finally add the sauce to the skillet. Stir well to coat the veggies in the sauce. 

And if you're wondering why you cook the beef in vegetable oil, but the veggies in sesame oil, it all comes down to flavor. "Sesame oil has a distinctive, nutty flavor, and is great in Chinese dishes; however, I don't like to overpower, which is why I add a small amount before cooking the vegetables," Dalton explains. 

Combine the noodles and beef until heated through

Finally, add the cooked noodles and the beef to the wok and mix well until all the ingredients are well-combined and the noodles are hot. This should only take about 1 to 2 minutes. When everything's heated through, it's ready to serve. And if you happen to have leftovers, don't throw them out! "Leftovers taste amazing," Dalton assures us. "You can store the noodles in a suitable container for up to three days and reheat thoroughly." 

Spicy Beef Stir Fry Recipe
4.9 from 14 ratings
Spice up your beef stir fry quite literally with this chili-infused recipe.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
3
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
bowls spicy beef stir fry
Total time: 13 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 9 ounces beef steak, sliced thinly against the grain
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bok choy bulbs, leaves sliced
  • 9 ounces medium egg noodles, cooked
Directions
  1. Mix the cornstarch and beef strips together in a bowl and leave them to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the soy sauces, oyster sauce, and Shaoxing wine.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the beef strips and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until starting to brown. Remove the beef and set it aside.
  4. Set the burner to medium heat, then add the sesame oil, ginger paste, red chili, green onions, and garlic to the wok. Stir fry for 40 seconds before adding the bok choy. Stir fry for another 20 seconds or so, then add the prepared sauce.
  5. Give it a good stir, then add the noodles and the beef.
  6. Mix well so all the ingredients and the sauce are combined with the noodles, and stir fry until the noodles are hot — around 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 485
Total Fat 17.9 g
Saturated Fat 5.5 g
Trans Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 93.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 56.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Total Sugars 3.7 g
Sodium 519.6 mg
Protein 24.3 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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