Easy black pepper beef recipe for Chinese “takeout” at home

Tangy and spicy black pepper beef is a mainstay in Chinese buffets. When you’re craving that flavor at home, this is the recipe you need. Add in some white rice and you have a simple, quick, and straightforward meal the whole family will love.

Black pepper beef recipe: What to expect

Black pepper beef recipe, prepared with text overlay.
©Blog Chef.
  • Taste: The combination of black pepper, soy sauce, garlic, rice wine, and oyster sauce produces a flavor that’s sweet, salty, and earthy at the same time. The marinade and sauce are not overwhelming, though, so your steak and veggies still shine through.
  • Texture: You’re in control of the texture. You’ll pan-fry the veggies and steak separately, so you can decide if you want, say, crunchy veggies and tender steak. I like the steak tender, which means it’s barely cooked. But then I prefer the veggies to be more done than the usual “crisp-tender.” Just know that frying the steak longer means a tougher result, while frying the veggies longer makes them softer.
  • Foolproof factor: This recipe is straightforward. The first time through, you could possibly mistime the frying of your steak and vegetables. That won’t be the end of the world, though, unless you completely obliterate both ingredients. In that case, you’d end up with tough, charred steak and squishy vegetables. Avoid that by testing along the way. The steak, if sliced into strips, will cook completely in a few minutes. The veggies will take 5 to 12 minutes, depending on how done you like them.  
  • Timing: You’ll spend about 20 minutes prepping this recipe, or 25 if you’re having a conversation at the same time. Remember to start early though, as the meat should be marinated for at least 1 hour.   

Black pepper beef ingredients and how to use them

If you cook Chinese at home occasionally, you should have all the ingredients on hand, except the steak and veggies. If you don’t, scroll down for a list of other Asian-inspired recipes that use rice wine and oyster sauce.

Sliced flank steak on cutting board with two bowls of sauces.
©Blog Chef.

Here’s what you need to make Chinese black pepper beef:

  • Flank steak: To serve two people, you’ll need ½ lb of flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain.
  • Veggies: This dish is traditional made with broccoli. But since my husband hates broccoli, I make it with green beans. One cup of washed and trimmed veggies works perfectly.
  • Soy sauce: You’ll need 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, split between the marinade and the black pepper sauce.  
  • Rice wine: There’s 1 tablespoon of rice wine in the marinade and another tablespoon in the black pepper sauce.
  • Sesame oil: You will use 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, split evenly between the marinade and sauce.  
  • Oyster sauce: The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce. You could alternatively use fish sauce if that’s what you have.
  • Fresh garlic: Peel and mince two cloves of fresh garlic to add to the steak marinade.
  • Sugar: 1 tablespoon of white sugar gives the black pepper sauce some sweetness.
  • Ground black pepper: Use freshly ground pepper whenever possible. You’ll need 1 teaspoon or more to taste.
  • Vegetable oil: You’ll use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the pan to fry the steak and vegetables. If you don’t have vegetable oil, peanut oil or canola oil will work.

Equipment needed for black pepper beef  

Green beans in a wok.
©Blog Chef.

You don’t need a wok to make this recipe. You can do it in a large and deep skillet or even a big pot. You’ll also need a resealable bag for marinating, a bowl for mixing the sauce ingredients, and a sharp knife for slicing the steak.

More recipes that use rice wine or oyster sauce   

If you need to buy rice wine or oyster sauce for this recipe, don’t let it sit in the pantry, unused. Try these recipes next:

  • Oyster sauce chicken: An sweet, salty chicken stir fried with bell peppers and snow peas.
  • Chicken broccoli stir fry: This one is a craving buster featuring breaded and fried chicken cooked in a flavorful sauce.
  • P.F. Chang’s beef lo mein: Grab your chopsticks for this satisfying mix of noodles, beefy sauce, flank steak and shredded cabbage.
  • Daddy Wu’s chicken: A rainy day recipe with breaded and fried chicken and a lovely sauce made of oyster sauce, ginger, sake, sesame oil, and brown sugar.

Side dishes for black pepper beef

Black pepper beef prepared on plate with white rice.
©Blog Chef.

White rice is an easy side dish for black pepper beef. If you want to go big, try I enjoy this dish with fried rice and homemade egg rolls.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)

Black Pepper Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)

  • 1/2lb flank steak (sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets or green beans
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl or sealable bag, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, ½ tablespoon wine, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add steak, toss with the marinade and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon water, ½ tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet to high heat. Remove beef from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add to the wok. Stir fry for about 3 minutes or until the steak is fully cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet. Add broccoli florets and stir fry until they have reached your desired tenderness. Return the beef to the wok. Add the sauce to the skillet and cook until heated through. Serve with rice.

Notes

You can substitute other vegetables. Try snap peas, sliced Brussels sprouts, or bell peppers.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 439Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1437mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 35g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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