Chinese Pepper Steak

The Chinese Pepper Steak I made for dinner yesterday turned out very good. I can’t say it tastes just like they serve in Chinese restaurants, but it was tasty and the family agreed I could make it again — they’re so good to me. As usual, I didn’t have all the ingredients so I had to improvise a bit, but for the most part the recipe is identical to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s on Following is the recipe with the improvisations I made in parenthesis:




  • 1 pound flank steak, skirt steak, hanger steak, or flap meat, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips (I used round steak sliced very thin)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (divided) (I doubled this)
  • 1/3 cup shaoxing wine or dry sherry (divided) (I doubled this but didn’t have sherry so used red wine)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch (doubled)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock (I used 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (doubled)
  • 1 tablespoons sugar (double)
  •  1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper (I used 1.5 tbsp)
  • 2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch squares (about 1 cup) (only used green pepper)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch strips from pole to pole (about 1 1/2 cups) (Used three onions)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons) (Used 4 tsp minced garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger (Used 3 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 3 scallions, whites only, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Combine beef, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon xiaoshing wine in a bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature and up to 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining soy sauce with corn starch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining xiaoshing wine, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Set aside. Combine peppers and onions in a bowl and set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, and scallions in a bowl and set aside.To Cook On A Burner: When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef, adding beef to same bowl. Wipe out wok. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil and half of peppers and onions. Transfer to bowl with beef. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining peppers/onions. Return wok to high heat until smoking. Return peppers/onions/beef to wok and add garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until lightly thickened, about 45 seconds longer. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve (I followed this part exactly and the meat was super tender and the vegetables were perfect).

The original recipe can be found here:

Making Chinese-style food for dinner is one I have struggled with for years. For some reason I have never been able to duplicate my favorite entrees’. This year it has been one of my goals to remedy this and finally have recipes that I would be proud to serve to guests. Last year I did manage to finally make a sweet and sour pork/chicken recipe that I’m happy with. This year I am working on Almond Boneless Chicken (I’ve almost got it, just need to tweak the sauce so it’s not too mushroomy), Chicken with Broccoli in a white sauce, egg rolls (I’ve made them with ground chicken and ground pork, but am still not satisfied), and pork fried rice.

Trying new recipes is fun, especially when they actually turn out. I just love it when my husband tells me, “Yeah dinner was great — just don’t ever make that again!” That certainly boosts the old confidence. I know he’s kidding, but still, it does plant the seed of doubt. Pretty much the determining factor as to whether a recipe makes it onto the menu again is if I like it. If I’m not satisfied, it’s back to the drawing board. Once I actually like what I’ve made, and the family agrees it’s a keeper, then I can check that dish off my “to learn” list.

Chinese Pepper Steak made it onto the menu board finally after three failed prior attempts. I can now move on to the next challenge in Chinese cookery which is always exciting, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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