Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry


Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to choose and buy the freshest Chinese broccoli (gai-lan)
  • The perfect marinade recipe
  • Secrets to no-fail Chinese stir fries


Chinese Broccoli (Gai-Lan)

Chinese broccoli should be almost all stem and green leaves. Look for Chinese broccoli with minimal open flowers (lots of open white flowers means that the Chinese broccoli is past its prime and bitter.

You can also tell from the cut stems if the Chinese broccoli will be perfect or too old. See the bottoms of these cut stems? It’s milky-translucent and smooth. If the bottoms of the stem have a hard white circle in the middle (instead of smooth, milky and translucent) it will probably be past its prime and taste tough and bitter.

Photo below is Chinese Broccoli…see the beautiful stem-bottoms?


For this Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry recipe, you can use ANY type of noodles. Really, spaghetti noodles are fantastic in this dish. I happened to have Japanese style egg-noodles, so that’s what I used! Cook your noodles according to package directions.


While the noodles are cooking, marinate the beef slices in soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, oyster sauce and rice wine. If you don’t have rice wine, use dry sherry or any dry white wine will do. The sugar and the oyster sauce will help the meat caramelize.


You want beautiful, carmelized meat in your stir fry?

Here’s the secret. DO NOT CROWD THE MEAT! Single layer, ladies and gents!


Once you add it to the wok or frying pan, LEAVE THE THING ALONE. Resist the temptation to shake, move it around or flip…until the first side has a chance to caramelize. Then flip.


See the nicely caramelized bits?


Once the meat finishes cooking, remove to a plate. Now it’s time for Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan).


Stir fry for a minute, scooping up the oils at the bottom of the wok all over the Chinese Broccoli. Bathe the oil over the Chinese Broccoli.

Now turn heat down, add 1/4 cup of water or browth and cover to let steam.


A couple of minutes later…test the Chinese Broccoli to see if done! A knife should pierce easily into the steam.


Now its the cooked noodles turn to take a bath in the sauce.


See it absorb all the juicy bits?


Now return the beef and broccoli to the wok and serve!!






Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, sake or dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh or 10 ounces dried noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 pound Chinese broccoli or regular common broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks or florets
Freshly ground black pepper


In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in the tapioca starch and continue stirring until smooth. Add the sesame oil and beef, and mix well. Marinate for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the excess marinade.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles until 1 minute shy of done and drain. (We'll finish cooking the noodles at the end)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a skillet or wok over high heat and stir-fry the garlic until fragrant, about 1o seconds. Add the beef and stir-fry until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the Chinese broccoli, stir frying so that the oil coats the Chinese broccoli. Pour in the 1/4 cup of the stock, turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook the Chinese broccoli until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the Chinese broccoli to the same plate.

Add the remaining cup of stock and the remaining 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and rice wine to the same skillet and bring to a boil over
high heat.

Add the noodles and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, leaving the noodles lightly moistened,2 to 3 minutes. Return the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Season with pepper to taste and serve.

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Comments 144

  1. Big Boys Oven

    this beef nodlle makes my eyes sparkle with joy of wanting to chopstick into it withour anyone’s permission! hehehehe nice being naughty this days! πŸ™‚

  2. Mike

    Chinese Broccoli is unavailable in my town but Broccoli Raab is all over the place this season. Do you think that it would work here?

  3. Deborah

    Jaden, the photo of your final dish jumps right off the page! AMAZING! It has me craving that dish and God only knows how hard it would be to find the ingredients in the countryside of Umbria, lol. Guess I’ll have to wait until we are back in Florida in December.

    I recently made a rustic tart using bietola (swiss chard) you can find here at
    As for beans, I am not sure if we are talking the same kind of beans, but here is a delicious borlotti bean soup I made recently at


  4. joey

    The caramelized beef looks champ Jaden! I can never get my beef to look like that…thanks for sharing the tips and secrets! πŸ™‚ Saving this now…

  5. [email protected]

    This is certain to be a new favorite in our house – all the right flavors, and noodles too!

    So glad you mentioned about the hard white circle inside past-its-prime broccoli. We once found that in our broccolini and had no idea what it was. Very unappetizing and inedible. Thanks for the info.

  6. Michelle @

    Gai Lan is one of my absolute favorite vegetables! I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    Back in February, when I found myself drowning in the San Francisco Fog, I made a Fava Bean Stew with Arugula and Meyer Lemon (Beans and Greens!). It was simple, hearty, warming, and utterly satisfying – just what I needed. You can view the recipe and photo here:

  7. Diana

    Mmmm, I love broccoli beef. Somehow I’ve never made it with gai lan before! Love the caramelizing tips for the beef. I try so hard not to fidget with my food while it’s cooking πŸ™‚

    I’ve been trying all kinds of greens that I’ve never had before through our CSA. Our first week we got 4 shopping bags full of 8 different greens and I was a little overwhelmed. I began playing with dressings and came up with a tasty buttermilk dressing and some beautiful lacy parmesan bowls.
    But my absolute favorite new recipe for greens is swiss chard and goat cheese soup. I’ve been making it by the gallon and freezing it for winter!

  8. alice

    Our family loves to eat this dish.. and I agree about not overcrowding the meat. I think most stir fry dishes fair because of overcrowding issues.

  9. Heather @ chik n' pastry

    that looks awesomely awesome and is making me super hungry – in mid afternoon no less. thanks…

    Here’s my week 3: I made a green bean & farro salad that’s got a blob of goat cheese. Can’t go wrong with goat cheese, right?!

  10. marilyn @ simmer till done

    As usual, Jaden, your photos make me want to plunge fork to screen. Caramelized beef, a steamy wok and those sexy greens? Oh, my. I’m no gardener, but we have great Chinese markets around – picking up the broccoli tomorrow, and I know what’s for dinner. Thanks for another delicious Summer Fest dish!

  11. Tim

    I love the photos on your site. Meat looks meatier, greens looks greener, somehow everything just manages to look so more more intense without being over the top.

  12. Sarah Caron

    Oh, Jaden, that looks delish! I love how you demonstrated the whole delectable technique too πŸ™‚ That just makes me want to hurry up and make it … Hmmm, I did have a stirfry planned for later this week.

  13. katiek @kitchensidecar

    my favorite Chinese vegetable. Oh no, I take it back – my third favorite (long beans and kong xing tsai). Anyways, the pic of your adorable kid, begs the question: Are all chinese vegetables weeds? My sister thinks so.

  14. Simone (junglefrog)

    I love the vibrant greens of the broccoli! Beautiful! I would love to participate in this week but I am too busy getting ready for my holiday to do much cooking at all, so…. will just have to enjoy everyone elses dishes!

  15. yasmin

    hi jaden! i think this is my first comment on your blog, but i’m a huge fan, am enjoying following you on twitter, and more than anything, extremely grateful for how generous you are with your tips and advice. thanks for letting new food bloggers like me benefit from your experience.

    i just put up a post this week singing the praises of wild arugula. but any arugula will work in the recipe i’m contributing this week to summerfest:
    “arugula, celery and chevre salad”

    your entry reminded me how much i love gai-lan. must.make.soon.

  16. Asianmommy

    Great recipe! I love this dish. I’ve always wondered why Chinese broccoli tastes so good sometimes and so awful at other times. Thanks–I’ve been enlightened.

  17. Jacqueline

    I wonder if these are crispy like the “leung mein wong”(twice fried yellow noodles) we get in C’town? Love, love, love gailan. So much. Mm. Mm.

    I joined with a rather unattractive entry, kitchen-sink soup. But it did use beans (white and green) and greens (escarole) – It was better tasting than looking!

    White Bean and Escarole Soup.

  18. Alison

    This recipe looks great…I stumbled onto your website from a mention by Deb on SmittenKitchen and it looks great!

    Do you think there is a good substitution for the oyster sauce? My youngest can’t have anything with shellfish, but I’d love to try this recipe. Thought I would ask you before experimenting since I don’t have a lot of experience with Asian sauces.


  19. Lynda

    Love this recipe – I know it will be a winner with the whole family! Thanks for the info on Summer Fest; I’ll join in on the tomatoes.

  20. rachel

    hi, love your website! must read! it is a good idea to cook the beef and broc with noodle… my 2 little boys with love it( they r pretty much the same age as yours). thank you!

  21. Sean

    I’m going to pick up some Chinese broccoli tomorrow and give this a go sometime this week. I’ll make sure to give proper credit if I post it on my blog – I think we all know how pissed off you get when people steal things from the little mishap this week haha

  22. Y.S.

    Just made this for Chinese NY. Delicious! If anyone’s a big carb fan like me, the recipe works just as well with 2 pounds of fresh noodles (all else the same). Thanks for sharing.

  23. Tracey

    I made this for Chinese New Year and all I can say is I’ve finally found the fried noodle recipe I’ve been looking for. I always go to make noodles stir fries and they never come out like I dream but this one was EXACTLY what I crave. The first time I made it exactly the way you wrote it (even used the same exactly noodle brand!). Tonight I made it with a combo of shrimp and beef, with regular broccoli and snow peas, and some random Chinese wheat noodles I had lying around. So good. This will definitely be in the biweekly rotation!

  24. Samantha

    Cooked this the other day for dinner and it turned out to be so tasty! My husband came back from work a little late and the noodles had soaked up the gravy but still tasted absolutely yummy – so he says!

  25. lilian

    Hi, I’m thinking of making this recipe sometime very soon. Since the recipe calls for beef is it ok to use beef stock instead? I thought maybe beef stock might go hand in hand with the stir fried beef. Or is it just better to use chicken stock instead? I want my gravy to be perfect. Also does this make a lot of gravy and enough to soak the noodles? Cos I don’t want my noodles to be swimming in gravy and end up being too soft but I do want a bit more gravy; just enough to coat the noodles. Hope you can reply asap.

    Btw, I made your chinese chicken salad and the dressing was really top notch. And my entire family really liked the fried wonton strips…I left some in a bowl so that they won’t go soft in the salad and dressing. They were still remarkably crispy even after 1 hour! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. SteamyKitchen

      Hey Lilian-

      I’ve never been a fan of how canned/commercial beef broth tastes – which is why I always use veg or chicken broth when I’m using store-bought. But you’re welcome to use it.

      I also don’t like lots of gravy – I favor light, clean flavors – which is one of my philosophies in cooking Chinese stir fries. I think you’ll be happy with the recipe.

      1. lilian

        Thanks for the quick reply. Yeah I think I’ll stick with the chicken stock…just suggested to use beef stock instead. I don’t like too much gravy either just enough to coat the noodles. I’ll try this recipe tmr and I’ll let u know how it turns out.

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