This beef onion stir-fry is one of those recipes that doesn’t require much more than the ingredients in the name—beef…and onions!
If you’ve been cooking with us for a while, you likely have all the other ingredients already. Kitchen basics like baking soda, cornstarch, and ketchup (yup, ketchup!) combine with a few of our Essential Chinese Pantry ingredients to create an incredibly delicious dish.
Reading: how to make beef stir fry in a wok
Inspired by a Chinatown Menu
If you live in or near Chinatown, try finding this beef onion stir-fry at a restaurant! It’s savory, a little tangy, and so tasty over rice.
Some of my favorite Chinatown joints are those that specialize in lunch specials and late night fare. Such places serve quick, delicious stir-fries, usually served over a big pile of rice.
I was perusing one such restaurant’s menu the other day, and saw “Beef and Onions” in a long list of no-nonsense yet mouthwatering dishes.
I set to experimenting with my own version, and came up with this recipe, which got resounding approval from the family peanut gallery (not always an easy task!)
These quick stir-fries are some of my favorite recipes to record, and this one is no exception.
A Super Quick Cooking Recipe
Read more: Fried Oysters | Family Cuisine
You won’t stand at the stove longer than 5 minutes to make this recipe. Seriously.
Marinate the beef, and premix the sauce ingredients. Then simply sear the beef and onions separately, simmer and thicken the sauce, and mix everything together!
It really is as simple as that.
What Cut of Beef to Use for Stir-fry
In our opinion, flank steak is the most ideal cut of beef for a stir-fry. That’s what we call for in this recipe. However, you could also use sirloin or even inexpensive beef chuck.
Whatever cut of beef you use, just make sure to thinly slice it against the grain. In other words, look at the muscle fibers in the beef, and make your slices perpendicular to those fibers.
It helps to use a sharp knife, and to angle that knife 45° so you can create wider, thinner slices.
We’re using baking soda in the marinade here to make the beef extra tender. Check out our post on how to prepare beef for stir-fries for more information!
Beef & Onion Stir-fry: Recipe Instructions
In a medium bowl, add the flank steak, baking soda, cornstarch, oil, oyster sauce, and water. Mix until the liquid has been absorbed, and set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, ketchup, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and water. Set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat until smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and spread the beef in the wok in a single layer. Sear the meat, undisturbed, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until browned.
Stir-fry for an additional 15-30 seconds, until about 75% cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the onions.
Stir-fry until the onions are seared and slightly blistered, 60-90 seconds. Remove from the wok.
Add the prepared sauce to the wok, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 seconds, and then stir in the beef and onions for another 30 seconds.
Serve over rice.