Beef Broccoli Stir-fry西兰花炒牛肉xī lán huā chǎo niú ròu

There are a few key steps to make an authentic, tender, restaurant-style beef broccoli stir-fry. You will need tenderize and marinate the beef, pre-cook the broccoli, sear the beef then combine beef and broccoli with the cooking sauce.

A little secret to tenderizing the beef is hydrating the meat with a bit of water and adding a small amount of baking soda. You need a good 30 minutes for the beef to sit and tenderize. After tenderizing the meat, marinating it in some oil, oyster sauce, and cornstarch gives the beef that extra soft and velvety texture you find in Chinese restaurants.

Beef and marinade

  • 450g/1 pound                  sirloin beef steak (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon                   baking soda (optional),小苏打
  • 3 tablespoons                  water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons               cornstarch淀粉
  • 2 teaspoons                     vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon                                  oyster sauce蚝油

Stir-fry sauce

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons               white sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon                   white peppercorn powder白胡椒粉
  • 1 and half tablespoons      corn starch
  • 2/3 cup                            chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons            light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 teaspoon                                  dark soy sauce 老抽
  • 1 tablespoon                   oyster sauce蚝油
  • 1/2 teaspoon                   sesame oil香油
  • 1 tablespoon       Chinese cooking wine

For the rest of the dish

  • 4 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups  broccoli florets(200g)西兰花

In a bowl, add the sliced beef, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 3 tablespoons water (if you don’t want your beef tenderized too much, skip the baking soda). Massage the beef with your hands until all the liquid is absorbed. Mix in 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Make the stir-fry sauce mixture by mixing together the chicken stock, sugar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and Chinese cooking wine. Set aside.

Let’s pre-cook the broccoli. If you use microwave, simple place your broccoli florets in a bowl. Push the ‘fresh vegetable’ function. Or you blanch the broccoli – bring 6 cups of water to a boil and blanch your broccoli for 30 to 60 seconds Drain and set aside. Either method, you will want your broccoli crunchy. Do not over cook it.

Heat your wok over medium high heat. Add 4 tablespoons oil and sear the beef on both sides until browned (this should only take 2-3 minutes). Cook the beef to rare. Turn off the heat, remove the beef from the wok, and set aside. Do not overcook the beef as the beef will be returned to wok later.

Set the same wok over medium heat.  Add into minced garlic and cook for 1 minute or so. Add into sliced yellow onions. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Next, add in the stir-fry sauce you made earlier. Stir the sauce around the sides of the wok to deglaze it (all those nice bits from stir-frying the beef should be absorbed into the sauce). Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Toss in seared beef and blanched broccoli. Mix everything together over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce coats the beef and broccoli. Beef now shall be cooked to medium to well done and broccoli shall be still crunchy. Remove it from the stove and plate it. Serve with plenty of steamed rice!

Stir-fried Napa Cabbage with Hot and Sour Sauce醋溜白菜cù liū bái cài

Known as Big White Vegetable (Dà Bái Cài/大白菜/) in Chinese, Napa cabbage plays such an important role that an old Chinese saying claims “Bǎi Chī Bú Yàn Dà Bái Cài/百吃不厌大白菜”, meaning “One can never get tired of eating Napa cabbage”. It used to be one of the few vegetables available during winter in Northern regions of the country. So most home cooks master skills for cooking it in various ways. You can find it in salads, stir-fries, soups, dumplings, steamed & braised dishes, etc.

My personal favorite has always been stir-fried Napa cabbage with hot & sour sauce (醋溜白菜). It’s a simple, humble dish that calls for common ingredients and requires basic stir-frying techniques. Yet, to produce it to a restaurant quality, you’ll need to pay attention to a few important details.

When it comes to cutting vegetables for Chinese stir-fried dishes, there are a couple general rules to follow:

  1. Make sure to drain/dry the cabbage leaves very well after washing as you wouldn’t want too much water going into the wok.
  2. Cut off the end of the cabbage (about 1cm). Separate all the leaves with your hands. Cut the vegetable in a way that enables maximum surface absorption of flavours from the sauce. Lay one leave flat on the chopping board. Cut it into bite-sized pieces at a 30-degree angle. Repeat to finish all the leaves. All the pieces are cut approximately the same size. This is to ensure even doneness during cooking.
  3. When stir-frying, the heat should be high and the cooking time needs to be as short as possible. This way, the white part of the cabbage remains crunchy and the dish doesn’t look too wet.

Serve 2-4

450g/1lb         napa Cabbage大白菜, cut into bite size

2 tablespoons                          cooking oil

4 cloves, garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

5 to 6                           dried red chili干辣椒

1 to 2 sprig                              spring onions, sliced

Stir-fry sauce

1 tablespoon                           corn starch淀粉

1 teaspoon                              salt

2 teaspoons                             white sugar白糖

1 and half tablespoons            chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋

1 tablespoon                           light soy sauce生抽

½ tablespoon                           dark soy sauce老抽

2 tablespoons                          water


  • Prepare the cabbage. Separate the leaves of the Napa cabbage. Lay one leaf flat on the chopping board. Cut it into bite-sized pieces at a 30-degree angle. Repeat to finish the rest.
  • Mix the stir-fry sauce. In a bowl, combine corn starch, salt, sugar, chinkiang vinegar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water.
  • Now let’s stir-fry. Heat up a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add into 2 tablespoons cooking oil then add garlic and dried chilies. Fry until fragrant (do not burn). Put in the cabbage. Stir fry until the green leafy part starts to wilt but the white part remains crunchy..
  • Give the sauce a good stir then pour into the wok. Add spring onions. Mix well. Remove from the heat once the sauce thickens. Serve immediately.

Pork Carnitas墨西哥手撕猪肉

Carnitas is Mexico’s version of pulled pork. If you’re new to Carnitas, try this recipe and it might become your new addiction.

Made by slow cooking pork fully submerged in lard, this confit method of cooking yields pork that’s unbelievably rich and tender with loads of crispy golden bits.

Don’t skip the step to brown the Pork Carnitas. Pan frying to get the golden bits is not optional – the cooked and shredded pork has to be double cooked in the skillet to capture the elusive combination of flavourful juice and crispiness.

My secret of the recipe is to include soy sauce in the rub to add into another layer of the flavour, which you would not expect from a Mexico restaurant. But this is optional for you.

Serving 6-8

  • 2kg/4lb pork shoulder, skinless, boneless (2.5kg/5lb bone in)
  • 2 teaspoons    salt
  • 1 teaspoon      black peppercorn
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 japapeno      deseeded, chopped, (optional)
  • 3/4 cup            fresh orange juice (from 2 oranges)


  • 2 teaspoons                ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon               dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon               olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons             light soy sauce


Step 1- Slow cook the pork shoulder

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F°/160C°.
  2. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, Rub all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the Rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  4. Place the pork in an oven-proof pot, top with the onion, jalapeño (optional), minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the oranges.

5. Cover the pot and bake in the oven for 3 to 4 hours until the pork is tender and can be easily pulled apart. Remove the pork from the pot. Use your hand or two forks to shred the pork.

6. Skim off the excess fat from the juices left in the pot. This is optional. Only do this if you think you have too much fat in the juices. If you have a lot more than 2 cups of juice, then reduce it down to about 2 cups. The liquid will be salty, it is the seasoning for the pork. Set liquid aside – don’t bother straining onion etc, it’s super soft.

Step 2 – Crisp cooked and shredded pork

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a large non-stick pan or well-seasoned skillet over high heat. Spread pork in the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don’t want to make it brown all over because then it’s too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
  2. Remove pork from skillet. Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don’t crowd the pan.

Step 3 Taco Fixings

  1.  warm tortillas according to packet instructions.
  2. Pile up the crispy pork carnitas. Spoon pico de gallo or any spicy tomato salsa on the pork then top with 1 or 2 spoons of sour cream. Enjoy!


1. Best way to store: Shred pork but don’t pan fry. Keep pork and juice separate, refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months (for freezer, I put pork in containers/ bags and put juice in ziplock bags in the same container).

Gently reheat juice to make it pourable (congeals when cold). Pan fry per recipe, drizzling with juice.

3. Storing leftovers after pan frying: Keeps extremely well, but tends to lose juiciness when it cools down. Just drizzle with juice, cover with cling wrap and reheat – the crispy bits hold up very well. It’s not quite as crispy as when cooked fresh, but still seriously tasty.

Pico De Gallo墨西哥碎番茄沙拉

Sometimes when you eat authentic Mexican food, they give you this salsa stuff made with tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos. You can add a squeeze of lime juice to pico de gallo, but I prefer this basic recipe. Once you serve this with your Mexican dish such as tacos, you will want it with all your Mexican dishes.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapenos, diced  (optional)
  • 2 sprigs or 1 cup, cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon         salt
  • 1 tablespoon      extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons              lime juice       


  1. In a medium bowl, combine tomato, onion, jalapeno pepper (optional)) and cilantro. Season with salt, olive oil and lime juice. Stir until evenly distributed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.