Thinly sliced steak is stir-fried with colorful vegetables in a spicy sauce in this Hunan beef.
A take-out classic that’s surprisingly simple to make in the comfort of your own home!
My family loves Chinese food and always asks me to make beef and broccoli, crab rangoon, and this savory and spicy Hunan style beef dish.
I always order Hunan beef at my neighborhood Chinese restaurant. The combination of steak and vegetables in a spicy sauce is unbeatable!
This homemade version is actually quite simple to prepare; serve with steamed rice and wait for the rave reviews to roll in!
WHAT IS HUNAN BEEF?
Hunan beef is produced in China’s Hunan province. This province is located in China’s southern central region.
Hunan is famous for its spicy and sour sauces. This area is also well-known for its vegetables and crops.
Hunan beef is a flavorful way to enjoy a hearty serving of vegetables while highlighting the hot and sour flavors of the Hunan region.
You can adjust the amount of chili paste to your taste preferences to control the heat in this dish.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS HUNAN BEEF RECIPE?
- A sauce that is perfectly balanced – tangy, spicy, and sweet.
- Lots of colorful, fresh vegetables that are tender-crisp and not soggy.
- Beef bites that are tender and juicy
- You can adjust the spice level by adding as much chili paste as you want.
- Without a long list of ingredients, this dish is quick and easy.
- Made with ingredients that can be found at any supermarket.
- Simple, no-fuss cooking method
- Ready in less than 30 minutes
- A nutritious meal that the whole family will enjoy
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WHAT’S IN HUNAN BEEF?
- I used flank steak as my beef. Across the grain, cut it into thin strips. Freezing it for 20 minutes firms it up, allowing for very thin slices.
- I used broccoli, baby corn, carrots, and red pepper as fresh vegetables. There’s a list of other vegetables you can use to customize your own Hunan Beef below.
- Ginger and garlic
- Hunan Chili Sauce
HOW DO YOU MAKE HUNAN BEEF?
This recipe begins with browned flank steak in a pan. The meat is removed, and a variety of colorful vegetables are added to the pan.
To make a simple sauce, combine soy sauce, oyster sauce, beef broth, and chili paste.
The sauce is poured over the meat and vegetables and allowed to thicken while simmering. Serve and have fun!
BEEF STIR FRY VARIATIONS
This recipe is flavorful and delicious; however, you can make some changes if you prefer.
- Other vegetables that can be used in this dish include carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, bok choy, and mushrooms.
- Meat: You can substitute thinly sliced chicken or pork for the beef in this recipe.
- Nuts: For extra crunch, toss in a handful of cashews or sliced almonds.
Hunan beef is a tasty way to enjoy fresh vegetables and beef with a spicy kick!
WHAT IS HUNAN SAUCE MADE OF?
Beef broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegar, honey, chili paste, and cornstarch are combined to make Hunan sauce.
These ingredients combine to create a rich, flavorful sauce that coats the beef and vegetables.
This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of chili paste, which yields a mildly spicy sauce. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add up to 1 tablespoon of chili paste.
WHAT’S IN CHINESE HUNAN SAUCE?
Hunan Sauce is a traditional Chinese stir fry sauce that is slightly spicy, tangy, and sweet. It includes:
- sauce de soja
- octopus sauce
- vinegar made from rice wine
- sweetheart (or sugar)
- Chili paste Sambal Oelek
- Broth of beef
VEGETABLES FOR HUNAN BEEF
In this classic Chinese stir fry dish, use your favorite stir fry vegetables:
- The bell pepper
- ear of corn
- Fresh chili peppers for extra spiciness
- Bamboo shoots
- Water chestnuts
- Snow peas
- Sugar snap peas
- Slice red onion
- Green onion
- Bok choy
WHAT DOES HUNAN BEEF TASTE LIKE?
This slightly spicy Hunan Beef Chinese stir fry has a flavor profile that is mildly spicy, tangy, and lightly sweet.
Because of the oyster sauce and soy sauce, it has a rich umami, Asian flavor.
The spicy, garlicky flavor of sambal oelek is imparted to the sauce. The flavors are rounded out by the garlic and ginger.
The use of DoubanJiang (spicy chili bean sauce) imparts a distinct, spicy, fermented flavor.
TIPS FOR HUNAN BEEF
- Cut all of your vegetables into similar-sized pieces so that they all cook at the same rate.
- For this recipe, you can use any chili paste you like. I usually use sambal oelek, which can be found in the ethnic foods section of most supermarkets. Hot chili oil, chili garlic sauce, or even sriracha are all options.
- Cook the meat in a single layer so that it browns evenly – if you crowd the pan, the meat will steam rather than brown. You’ll want to cook the steak in batches, which takes a little longer but is totally worth it.
- I enjoy incorporating baby corn into my Asian dishes. Baby corn is available in cans and jars, and can be found in the canned vegetable or ethnic foods aisles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hunan beef vs. Szechuan beef? Szechuan beef is sweeter and more tingly, whereas Hunan beef is less sweet and has more heat and spice. Hunan’s flavor is considered more straightforward and contains more vegetables.
Hunan Beef is a stir-fried beef dish with dried chilies and garlic that is hot and spicy. Hunan cuisine (also known as Xiang cuisine) is famous for its fresh aroma as well as its hot and spicy flavors.
Hunan beef is also spicier than Mongolian beef, which is sweeter due to the addition of soy sauce and brown sugar. Hunan beef also contains more vegetable components, whereas Mongolian beef is typically served with scallions or mixed vegetables.
Chili peppers, garlic, and Szechuan peppercorn are the main ingredients. It has a complex sweet/spicy flavor. It is well-known for producing a distinct tingly numbing sensation when consumed. Hunan beef has a much hotter flavor, whereas Szechuan beef has a sweeter and spicy flavor.