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are you ready, tiger?

Recipe: stir-fried beef with chinese barbecue sauce

There just is not enough time in a day. Or a week for that matter. It’s February! How did this happen? Either my memory sucks (always a possibility) or more likely than not, I’ve packed my calendar to the hilt. Okay both. Work hard. Play hard. Sleep is for losers. Last night was Ignite Boulder 8 and it was the largest Ignite in the world topping out around 830 attendees! Word. Every time I go I’m amazed and impressed by the organizers, the speakers, and the community. I’ve snuck peeks at other Ignites around the country online and well… *yawners*. Boulder’s Ignite is aptly named (it’s IGNITE, not FALL ASLEEP). Every time I come home after an Ignite Boulder, my face hurts from laughing and smiling so much.


head honcho andrew hyde

mel sportin’ the coolest shirt (the back reads: “poke me”)

thank you, organizers!



The ephemerides tell us that the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year – year of the Tiger) and Valentine’s Day coincide this Sunday, February 14th. Even though I scrunch my nose at Valentine’s Day, there isn’t really a conflict because the Big Partay for Chinese New Year is on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Chinese New Year is the most important holiday on my calendar. I can get away with blowing off Christmas and Thanksgiving routinely, but the week of Chinese New Year is my frenzy time. It’s a good frenzy because I like to share the celebration with friends.

red envelopes, fruit



In planning the menu for this weekend, I had to balance logistics with tradition. There are certain dishes I will not be preparing because it’s too time-consuming or it isn’t enough to serve a dozen people or I don’t have enough burners to cover that many stir-fries. For a beef recipe, I decided to try something new – stir-fried beef with Chinese BBQ sauce (sa tsa or sa cha).

it’s mostly flank steak and green onions

easier to slice semi-frozen



I’ve had this dish at restaurants before and most recently my dad made it for me when I was last home. Dad used filet mignon and while I have a great respect for that oh-so-tender cut of beef, I truly truly love my flank steak for its superior flavor. I like to slice the beef when it is in a half frozen state because it makes it easier to get thin slices (a trick I learned from my mom). Don’t make the slices paper thin or else you’ll end up with a pile of slop when you cook it. The Chinese BBQ sauce I use is the same stuff we eat with our Chinese hot pot. The brand is Bull Head.

look for the label, that’s how i shop because i can’t read chinese

prep the sauce and onions



Traditionally, I’ve seen this served with sautéed onions. While I love to cook with onions, I don’t like eating big hunks of yellow onion. Instead, I subbed green onions for the flavor and opted to partner the beef with some random Chinese broccoli (cooked separately).

a little shaoxing cooking wine



Mix the beef with seasonings, ready the sauce mixture, and have your onions sliced. It all goes quickly as most stir-fries do. The bulk of the time is always in the prep.

first sauté the beef until half-cooked

add the sauce



I tend to cook the beef until it is pink since it continues to cook from residual heat and the slices are pretty thin. You could serve this with onions as mentioned above, or on a bed of vegetables – however you want to do it. I usually sauté some spinach, but since I had made a big Asian grocery run this week, I bought Chinese broccoli to sauté instead. A great combination.

test drive: successful!



Stir-fried Beef with Chinese BBQ Sauce
[print recipe]

1 lb. beef, sliced thin against the grain (flank steak, filet mignon)
1 tbsp shaoxing Chinese cooking sherry
1 tbsp water
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsps vegetable oil (something flavorless, not olive)
3 tbsps Chinese BBQ sauce (sa cha)
2 tbsps soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsps vegetable oil
4 stalks green onions, trimmed, sliced

It helps to slice the beef when the meat is partially thawed (or partially frozen, you pick). In a medium bowl, mix the beef with the cooking sherry, water, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil until the beef is evenly coated. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the Chinese BBQ sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and sugar. Stir together. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or sauté pan on high heat. Toss in the green onions when the oil is hot (they should sizzle when they hit the oil) and stir for ten seconds. Add the beef and sauté until the meat is half cooked. Pour in the BBQ sauce mixture and stir fry until the meat is just pink. Remove from heat. Serve.

30 nibbles at “are you ready, tiger?”

  1. Tony says:

    you got me watching a lot of the Ignite Boulder talks on youtube! I’m a fan! Ignite DC just got on its feet this past year — I can’t wait to get involved. I’m sure we can give Boulder a run for their money :P

  2. Lori says:

    I always love everything you say, but I have to disagree on the “sleep is for losers”. With kids, I need my sleep.

    This food looks absolutely yummy. As always.

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to send some red envelopes to a few of my friends who are out of town.

    Happy New Year! I am a wood snake.

  3. YDavis says:

    Happy Chinese New Year to you!

  4. Eesh says:

    Oof, this looks really good. I plan to make this over the weekend! I’ve seen (and used) both clear and amber Shaoxing wine– I couldn’t taste a difference but are they supposed to be for very different purposes? Which one do you use?

  5. Rosa says:

    Happy New Year!

    A mouthwatering dish!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. Jennifer says:

    Mmmmm the pictures make me wish I were there and the food looks great! Cheers!

  7. Memoria says:

    Your photos never seize to amaze me. That last photo is perfect.

  8. Susan says:

    Well, I’m on a roll with your website…fourth day of your recipes….THis one promises to be great….putting it together now and wondering what veggies to serve….

  9. dawn says:

    that looks like some serious kick-ass sauce from that can. love it! I want a “poke me” shirt!

  10. Fiona says:

    Awesome – this will be made this weekend, I think. We’ve been on a stir-fry and noodle kick recently, in preparation for the New Year.

    BTW your lentil/sausage salad inspired me to make sausage and bean soup yesterday. It’s excellent and it cleared up my bean craving.

  11. trix says:

    i love that barbecue “sa cha” sauce! yum!

  12. Susan says:

    Should’ve waited til we ate….but it was so great, my daughter thought it was from a restaurant! I made your japanese ginger dressing over lettuce & tomato salad…it was very authentic as well. I didn’t have miso paste, but a miso soup powder, so I used that & my dressing was a bit watery because of that I suppose, but the flavor was great!

  13. Bethany says:

    Looks great! We are blessed with a huge H-Mart not too far away — I think I can find the sa cha you recommend somewhere in there. We’ll be eating rice cakes — maybe rice cake soup? — for New Years, it’s the korean thing to do :-)

  14. Caitlin says:

    This looks wonderfully simple, and just perfect for the fiance, since he loves red meat way more than me :) And ignite sounds like so much fun!

  15. Cyndi says:

    This beef recipe looks great! Every year I return to your site (not that I don’t check it out the rest of the year) for your dumpling recipe. I made a batch last weekend for CNY. I will be making don don noodles along with the dumplings. I will likely make a veg stirfy too. Came here for inspiration. Love your blog, pics & beautiful dog.

  16. Sunday says:

    This looks delicious and quick! Perfect for a week night meal for my family, we’re often rushed at dinner. So quick and tasty is always a good thing in my book.

  17. Kristin says:

    Darn…just made a beef & broccoli stir fry this week. But I guess since we scarfed it all down & there were no leftovers they might be up for another one soon.

  18. Susan @ SGCC says:

    Happy New Year, Jen! It’s times like these that I wish I was Chinese too. your bbq beef dish looks amazing! I have to confess, however, that I am a big, fat loser (either that or an old bag), because I definitely enjoy my sleep! ;)

  19. TheKitchenWitch says:

    We celebrated the Year of the Tiger last weekend, a week early. Still, I’m tempted to jettison my plans for a Mardi Gras cajun feast this weekend in favor of your recipe. Looks delicious!

  20. Kristi says:

    Xin yin kuai le! My kids are going to love this dish! We are off to celebrate the New Year with my husband’s family this weekend. Food, family, laughing, and uh, more food!!

  21. Amy says:

    I love your website- always makes me happy to see pictures of pretty food, happy people and gorgeous outdoor scenery. Not to mention that it makes me brave enough to start experimenting with Asian food- which I have always loved but have been scared to make. I made the bulgogi recipe on here for a houseful of Korean exchange students, and they were BEYOND HAPPY. 10 pounds of beef, gone in second. THANK YOU.

    I wish you and yours a happy New Year!

  22. Dave says:

    Looks really tasty, thanks for the recipe and you take wonderful pictures!

  23. Sherry says:

    Oh yum! We did this dish too, only we used thin slices of short ribs instead of flank steak. Absolutely delicious!

  24. Mrs Ergül says:

    What a lovely dish! Flank steak grew on me too after I saw its appearances on URB!

    On a curious note, pear usually isn’t featured during the Lunar New Year on this end of the world because its name in Chinese sounds the same as ‘separate’ in Chinese which doesn’t gel too much with unity for the New Year! I am keen to know what it symbolizes for you guys :)

  25. jenyu says:

    Thanks and Happy New Year, everyone!!

    Tony – I hope it takes off!

    Lori – you’re gonna have to learn that nothing I say is gospel ;)

    Eesh – I’ve never used clear before. I don’t know that it matters?

    Bethany – you should definitely be able to find sa cha at your H-Mart.

    Susan – you will always be a WINNER in my book, babe. always. xo

    Mrs. E – yeah, that’s a good point. It doesn’t symbolize anything for me. It’s one of the fruits Jeremy will eat ;)

  26. Manggy says:

    The first time I used Sa Cha sauce I was so surprised because for some reason I thought it would be sweet! So of course I love the fact that there’s sugar in this one, heh heh ;) I can’t tell you how attracted I was to the title of this post when I saw it. Bookmarked!
    Happy new year Jen!! xoxo

  27. Karen says:

    I looove your other stir-fried flank steak recipe – have served it several times for company – everyone loves it! Will look forward to trying this one too. Thanks for the great stuff. Happy new year.

  28. Irene Newman says:

    It’s nice to discover original recommendations for dishes also easy to understand ways to make them. My husband and I cooked this dish for our the evening meal last sunday. Everyone enjoyed it, I will be offering it on a regular basis now.

  29. Klaudia Reiniger says:

    What a awesome course, simple to follow directions, simple to prepare and also totally yummy, we loved it, thank you a bunch.

  30. Stacey says:

    Just tried this tonight! My boyfriend enjoyed it quite a bit. I was surprised at the taste, I was curious as to how much Chinese BBQ Sauce would taste like the American BBQ Sauce I grew up loving. It’s definitely different, but still good nonetheless! Thanks!

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