Quick and easy to prepare, pepper steak served over white rice makes for a great weeknight dinner that is loved by everyone. Pepper steak is basically a stir-fried beef dish with bell peppers, coated in a gingery soy sauce typically thickened with cornstarch. This classic Chinese-American dish, popular at Chinese takeaway joints can get a bad rep for being greasy, but making it yourself will only take 30 minutes from the kitchen to the table. Homemade also means you can avoid all that grease!
What steak to use for a pepper steak recipe?
Steak is the main ingredient in a pepper steak dish, so choosing the right cut is key. Take into consideration that the steak is cooked at a medium-high heat in just a few minutes, so avoid any tough, cheap cuts. Flank steak is preferable, but make sure that when you are slicing it into strips that you are cutting against the grain. This is because the tenderness of a meat doesn't just depend on the type of cut, but also on how you cut it when you take it home from the butcher. Cutting against the grain, that is, cutting through the fibers (the muscles) and shortening them, rather than in the same direction in which they run, makes chewing a lot more easier.
Another tip: when cooking your steak slices, use a wok or large skillet coated in vegetable oil, and never overcrowd the pan. If the skillet is not large enough, cook the steak in batches. Overcrowding the pan is one of the biggest mistakes in cooking - too much in the pan lowers the temperature and results in uneven cooking. The extra time spent will be well worth the effort.
You can use both green and red peppers, or just one, depending on what you have to hand. Slice the peppers into quarter-inch strips, and keep any other vegetables you want to add in a similar cut. This will make for more even cooking as well as add to the appearance of the dish. Onion is a popular addition, as are carrots, or even broccoli. Throw in some garlic and ginger for added flavour.
The sauce for pepper steak really takes just a few ingredients from your pantry. Simply grab a bowl and whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and cornstarch. Add this to the skillet with all your cooked ingredients. All it needs is a couple of minutes to mingle with everything in the skillet and the dish is ready to serve.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, and place the steak strips. Cook for a few minutes until beef is browned. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, fry the onion until translucent. Add the red and green bell peppers and cook for about 3 minutes until softened.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
Place the beef back in the skillet with the peppers and onions, and pour over the sauce. Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes, to combine.