Being one of the classic takeout dinners stateside, beef and broccoli is an easy to love staple in Chinese cuisine. It’s simple, easy on the taste buds and has meat. To get the perfect beef and broccoli however requires some refinements on the subtleties in the cooking process.
The broccoli should be cooked yet still firm, not soggy or raw. This is achieved by blanching the broccoli first until it turns bright green; the shade of green is a telltale sign of the perfect moment it is cooked yet still crisp. If you cook the broccoli in with the beef, it could result in the broccoli ending up soggy and covered with too much sauce thus losing its vibrant color. Alternatively, if the broccoli is added at the end, it could lead to the broccoli not being cooked fully.
The beef should be sliced thinly against the grain to maximize tenderness. The sauces are added only after the beef is fully cooked because the dark hue of the sauces will make it difficult to tell how pink and raw the meat still is.
The use of too much cornstarch will result in a goopy mess, so it must be used in the right amounts. Too little and the sauce stays runny, too much and you’re left with a gooey, sticky dish. Deglazing the pan is required during the stir-frying due to the addition of cornstarch during marination.
Despite the subtleties making all the difference between a passable beef and broccoli and heavenly one, there’s really only so many ways you can prepare it in terms of ingredients. That being said, here’s the version I prefer.