Chinese take away style Beef and Broccoli

Chinese food is Chinese food, wouldn’t you think? Well, in my experience, it isn’t. And when I make it at home, it definitely isn’t. But I was quite happy with my Chinese take-away style Beef and Broccoli.


For me it still is kinda amazing that when I’m traveling somewhere, you always bump into a Chinese restaurant. Even in countries you’d think people don’t eat out a lot, I came across them. Like on Cape Verde, a small and poor group of islands for Africa’s west coast.

So, Chinese food is Chinese food, right?


The first time I realized that they don’t serve the same food everywhere was in Barcelona, Spain. With a friend (hi BB!) I visited a friend of hers and we had the best of time. And one night, we ended up in a Chinese restaurant.

[I can’t recall why, though. It could easily have had something to do with me being a picky eater and wanting to eat something comforting, some food that I knew. Oh girl, could I’ve been more wrong!]

Chinese food in Spain turned out to be totally different from the Chinese food that I knew from The Netherlands. And therefor it wasn’t the comfort food I was looking for.

Now I know why!

The Chinese adjust their dishes to what’s available and how people like their food.

But I also know, The Netherlands is a peculiar country when it comes to our Chinese food.

Well, we Dutch are peculiar in more things when it comes to food (mayonnaise on your fries, anyone?), but our Chinese food literally is [open parenthesis] Chinese food [close parenthesis].

In the Netherlands you get served a mixture of Chinese, Indonesian and Dutch-style Indonesian food.

After the Second World War when Indonesia successfully thought its independence from being colonized by The Netherlands, a lot of Dutch people moved ‘back’*, missing the warmth and the food. Chinese entrepreneurs saw this and changed their restaurants into Chin.In.Rest. Chinese Indian Restaurant, with Indian referring to the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. Hence the unique mix of influences, flavors and dishes.

* Some people only knew The Netherlands from a picture or post card, as their family had lived in the East for generations.

If I thought we were distinctive with our Chinese restaurants … I just had to wait till I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and found myself back in a Hawaiian BBQ place.

A Hawaiian BBQ restaurant is like a typical Dutch Chin.Ind.Rest.!

It has American, Hawaiian, Chinese and other Asian dishes all mixed up. A favorite take-away option on those rare nights that I don’t cook. Beef and Broccoli is my first choice, one that I would never had picked from a typical Chin.Ind.Rest. menu.

So I had to make it myself one day.

Below’s my version.

Chinese take-away style Beef and Broccoli - broccoli-Recipe and Illustration by EDIE EATS food blog by Edith Dourleijn-small

Chinese take away style Beef and Broccoli

I used:
1/2 lb beef, like brisket or filet mignon
1 cup + 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup Jasmine or Basmati rice
1 + 1 T coconut or another vegetable oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2 broccoli crowns
1 tablespoon Chinese soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon fish sauce
few sprigs of parsley, for garnish

for the marinade
1 tablespoon Chinese soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch

I did:
Marinate the beef. Slice the beef thinly. Mix all marinade ingredients and marinate the beef at least 15 minutes.

Cook the rice. Bring 1,5 cup chicken stock to a boil. Scoop out 1/2 cup and cook the rice in the cup that’s left over in the pan. Check package for cooking time.

Heat a wok or wide skillet with the coconut oil. Drain the beef (and catch up marinade) and add to the pan when it’s smoking hot. Lay the meat in one layer for fast browning. Let rest for 2 minutes and flip over to cook the other side. In the mean time, peel and slice the onion. Remove the beef from the pan and put in the onions.

Stir-fry the onions. Keep heat high and stir occasionally. If the pan is really sticky from the cornstarch in the marinade, add a small splash of the extra chicken stock and give it a quick stir to clean out the pan (that’s also what we call deglazing!).

In the mean time, cut the broccoli lengthwise in long parts. Remove onions from the pan and add broccoli. Stir-fry until browned. In the mean time, peel and mince garlic and ginger. Add immediately to the pan and stir in.

Tip: If you don’t like long stems on your broccoli, but don’t want to waste a lot either, you can also remove the stems from the broccoli, peel them with a vegetable peeler and cut in small pieces. Cook these a few minutes longer; so add them first, then the crowns.

Cook the broccoli. Add marinade and 1/4 cup of the extra chicken stock to the broccoli too. Cover with a lid and let cook on medium heat 5-7 minutes. Halfway you probably should pour in the extra stock.

Test the broccoli for desired firmness. When it’s almost to your liking, add onions, beef and extra soy sauce, cooking wine, fish sauce and pepper. Taste and add extra of these to your liking. Soy sauce makes it more salty, cooking wine more acidic and fish sauce more umami (heartier).

Serve the beef broccoli over the cooked rice, and garnish with some chopped parsley.


Help me find a new Hawaiian BBQ favorite now, what’s your first choice?


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