This Chinese Beef with Garlic Sauce is a takeout classic. Tender, soft beef in an easy-to-make Chinese garlic sauce.
This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients to deliver a better than takeout dinner. It is so easy to make, and when paired with rice and some stir-fried veg, it makes a healthy Chinese weeknight meal that the whole family will love.
With this recipe, you can have your Chinese Beef with Garlic Sauce on the table in under 30 minutes. Plus, get my tips for delicious tender beef, just like your favorite takeaway.
Chinese Beef with Garlic Sauce is also known as Chinese Garlic Beef and is a delicious easy beef stir fry. The tender beef is cooked with green onions, beansprouts, and plenty of garlic, then finished with a thick Chinese sauce.
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These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients; for a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Beef: Choose flank steak or skirt steak for a great value cut. Rump steak or sizzle steaks are also good choices.
Baking Soda: This is used to tenderize the beef. It is also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda, and sodium bicarbonate. Don't get it muddled with baking powder!
Garlic: We are making a garlic sauce, and garlic is important, so it is well worth using fresh garlic and slicing it yourself. It will taste better. And as always, add more garlic if you like; I always say you should measure garlic with your heart.
Chicken Broth: Pick a low-sodium broth so your sauce isn't too salty.
Chinese Cooking Wine: Chinese Cooking Wine is also known as Chinese Rice Wine, Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine, Shaoxing Wine, or Shaoxing Cooking Wine. You can find it in most grocery stores in the Asian section, on Amazon, or in your local Asian grocery store. Use dry sherry or sake if you can't find Chinese Cooking Wine.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you, have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- Make sure the broth is cold when you mix up the sauce. This ensures the cornstarch dissolves without lumps. Also, be sure to give it a good stir just before you add it to the stir-fry.
- After tenderizing the beef with the baking soda, ensure you rinse the meat well. Baking soda works magic when tenderizing but doesn't taste great, so you want to remove it all. Pat the beef dry before adding it to the stir fry. You can do this in advance and refrigerate the meat until needed.
- Cut the beef across the grain to give you the most tender meat. See below for more details.
- Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. This doesn't take long to cook, and things will burn or overcook if you have to stop to chop something.
- You don't need a wok to make this dish. If you have an electric stove top, a large heavy-based skillet is better for the job as it will get hotter.
Cutting the beef
The trick to cutting meat so it is melt-in-the-mouth tender is to find the direction of the grain and then cut across it. This clever cutting technique allows the meat to fall apart in your mouth.
You can see this cutting technique in the pictures below. The first picture shows the grains in the meat, and you can see the knife cutting through them in the second photo.
Why You'll Love This Chinese Beef with Garlic Sauce
- It cooks quickly so that you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
- It tastes like your favorite takeout.
- It's easy to adapt and add more veg if you like.
- Perfect for the whole family; my kids love the tender beef.
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- Swap the broth: You can use beef or vegetable broth instead of chicken.
- Swap the beef: Replace the beef with the same quantity of chicken breast or pork fillet; they can both be tenderized with the baking soda in the same way as the beef. You can use prawns as well but skip the tenderizing steps. You can use a mixture of meats to make garlic sauce special stir-fry.
- Add extra veg: Boost the veg by adding carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts, mushrooms, Asian greens, asparagus, or sugar snap peas to this recipe. Blanch harder vegetables in boiling water for 2-3 minutes before adding them to the stir-fry with the beef. Softer veg can be added straight to the stir-fry.
- Spice it up: Add a teaspoon of hot sauce or chili paste to the sauce. Or add chopped fresh chili when you add the sliced garlic.
This Chinese Beef in Garlic sauce is perfect for serving with rice or noodles. And a serving of Asian veg. If you want to create a Chinese banquet, check out the list of other takeout-style dishes on Sprinkles and Sprouts.
- Chinese Chicken and Mushrooms
- Chinese Beef and Broccoli
- Shrimp Chow Mein
- Happy Family Stir Fry
- Chinese Pepper Beef Stir Fry
- Wandering Dragon Stir Fry
- Chinese Beef and Mushroom
- Sesame Ginger Chicken
- Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry
- Lake Tung Ting Shrimp
- Cantonese Fried Rice
- Chinese Chicken Curry
- Chicken and Snow Peas
Wine Pairings for Garlic Beef
To balance the flavors of this Beef in Garlic Sauce, pick a white with high acidity and some residual sugar. A Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or a Vinho Verde can stand up to the garlic. A Lambrusco would also be a great choice.
For those who love red wine, pick something with low tannins and high fruity notes. Thinks Gamay, Beaujolais, or Granache.
Get the Recipe
Chinese Beef with Garlic Sauce
For the stir fry
- 1 pound beef (steaks) - see note 1
- 1 ½ tablespoon baking soda - see note 2
- 3 green onions/spring onions
- 4 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup beansprouts
For the sauce
- ½ cup chicken stock/broth -see note 3
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine - see note 4
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- pinch pepper - white is traditional
Start with tenderizing the chicken.
- Cut the beef into thin strips across the grain.1 pound beef (steaks)
- Place in a non-metallic bowl and sprinkle with the baking soda. Stir gently to coat all of the beef. Then cover and let the beef marinate for 15 minutes.1 ½ tablespoon baking soda
- Wash off the baking soda and rinse the beef several times. (See note 5)
- Pat the beef dry with kitchen paper and set it to one side.
Next, make the sauce.
- Add all the sauce ingredients into a large measuring cup/jug and stir well. Ensure the broth is cold to stop the cornstarch from clumping.½ cup chicken stock/broth1 tablespoon cornstarch1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine1 tablespoon soy sauce1 tablespoon oyster sauce½ teaspoon sesame oilpinch pepper
For the stir fry
- Remove the roots from the green onion and chop them into 2-inch (5cm) length chunks. Peel and thinly slice the garlic.3 green onions/spring onions4 clove garlic
- Pour the oil into a heavy-based frying pan or wok and place over high heat.2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Add the green onions to the oil (be careful it can spit) and stir fry them for 1 minute to flavor the oil.
- Add the beef to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the sliced garlic and stir constantly for a minute.
- Add the beansprouts, stir to combine, and cook for another minute.1 cup beansprouts
- Give the prepared sauce another stir, and then pour it into the pan. The sauce will thicken quickly, so stir it to coat your stir fry. (see note 7).
- Serve immediately.
- Choose flank steak or skirt steak for a great value cut. Rump steak or sizzle steaks are also good choices.
- Baking soda is also known as bicarb of soda, bicarbonate of soda, and sodium bicarbonate. Don't get it muddled with baking powder that won't tenderize your meat.
- Green onions are also known as scallions in the US. And are known as Spring Onions in the UK and Australia.
- Make sure the broth is cold; this will ensure that the cornstarch/cornflour dissolves fully and doesn't clump together. You can sub in veg broth or beef broth
- You can buy Chinese cooking wine in the Asian section of the grocery store, but you can use dry sherry or sake if you can't find it. (See bulk of post for more information on Chinese Cooking Wine)
- Make sure you wash the chicken really well to remove any traces of baking soda. It is incredible at tenderizing meat but has a terrible taste, so you want to remove it.
- The sauce thickens quickly to that authentic thick Chinese takeout-style sauce. If you aren't a fan of the thick coating takeaway style sauces, you can reduce the quantity of cornstarch to ½ tablespoon if you just want a thinner sauce.
Nutrition is per serving