This better then restaurant quality Sesame Beef Stir Fry is ready in under 30 minutes! Melt in your mouth slices of beef marinated with ginger and soy, tossed with tender-crisp carrots and onion, all swirled together with a savory sauce that’s slightly sweet with a pinch of heat.
This much healthier version tastes even better then take-out and isn’t deep fried in oil. The crispy edged beef is tender, flavorful perfection. And the sauce! If I could do it without being seen, I would totally lick my plate. The sauce has all the delectable flavors of fresh ginger, soy, and toasted sesame.
How to get perfectly tender strips of Beef.
One of the things that makes this Sesame Beef Stir Fry special is a SECRET INGREDIENT. The beef marinade has a magical (scientific?) component that perfectly tenderizes even the toughest cuts of beef. What is this miracle worker? Baking Soda. I know it sounds odd, but a teaspoon in the marinade raises the pH on the meat’s surface, making it more difficult for the proteins to bond excessively, which keeps the meat tender and moist when it’s cooked. Here is an article by Cook’s Illustrated that discusses the technicalities in more depth.
One of my favorite things about stir fry is that, in general, it’s full of fresh veggies and is usually pretty healthy. I look at Stir-fry recipes as suggestions and opportunities. Sure, the suggested veggies will work great together in the recipe, but the opportunity to clean out your veggie drawer is there. I’m just saying. Do you have a red bell pepper that doesn’t have a purpose? This could be that pepper’s claim to fame.
The other great benefit of stir-fry is that it is the perfect weeknight dinner. Most of them can be prepped and made in under half an hour because of the quick cook time. How else can that Chinese carry-out tell you your order will be ready in 10 minutes? Everything is prepped and ready to go and cook time is FAST!
How to make Sesame Beef Stir Fry
Start by thinly slicing your beef. Slicing lean beef steak thinly, at an angle, and across the grain also helps with a perfectly tender result.
What beef do I choose for stir fry?
I usually select a sirloin or sirloin tip, especially, if I can find one already cut thin. I’ve used round steak, mock tenderloin, or just about any other lean cut of beef, usually depending of what’s on sale, but my preference is sirloin for stir-fry.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients that include soy, olive oil, baking soda, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, and sesame oil.
Marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes, but no longer then 2 hours. 15 minutes will give you the majority of the tenderizing benefits of the baking soda, but a little longer will impart more of the other flavors of the marinade in your beef.
While the steak is marinating, whisk together the sauce ingredients which includes soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, sesame oil, sesame seeds, beef broth, and cornstarch.
Prepare the vegetables. I really like the combination of carrot cut into matchstick size, white onion, and green onion. Some other options might include red bell pepper, broccoli, or snap peas. I always try to incorporate a combination of color and texture when choosing my vegetables.
Next, Preheat a large wok or non-stick fry pan until it is very hot. Add a tablespoon a oil and swirl it around. Add half the beef strips in a single layer. Cook without disturbing them for about 2 minuted until one side begins to turn crispy and develop a sear. Flip the strips and repeat until cooked and then remove them to a bowl.
Cook the second half of beef strips the same as the first and then remove them to the bowl as well.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet and swirl to coat. Add the white/yellow onions slices and the carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. When the veggies are almost done, add the garlic to the vegetables and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until it is fragrant.
Add the sauce and stir until it begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the meat and the green onions.
Serve with rice or noodles if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion slices.
Pro tips for a successful Stir Fry
- Stir Fry in a very hot wok or fry pan. High heat is essential.
- Use an oil with a high smoke point. Canola, peanut, or a light colored olive oil that is not extra virgin. 1-2 tablespoons is all that is usually needed.
- Your veggies should be bright and vibrant. Tender crisp is the goal. Do not cook them to the wilty/mushy stage.
- Garlic. Minced garlic is perfect in stir fry, but it burns easily. Saute it for only about a minute, or until fragrant.
- Stir Fry happens FAST! Make sure you have your ingredients prepped before you start to cook.
My favorite kitchen tools, and not just for this meal, are my favorite knife and microplane grater. I use them both ALL THE TIME!
If you are wondering about the availability of some of the less common sounding Asian ingredients, they can be found in the Asian isle at most grocery stores or through Amazon. Savor With Jennifer is an Amazon Associate and purchases through these links contribute a small percentage toward grocery shopping at no additional charge to you.
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Sesame Beef Stir Fry
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ginger – fresh grated
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 pounds beef sirloin steak – thinly sliced against the grain
- 4 carrots – peeled and sliced into matchstick size
- 1 cup onion white or yellow – peeled and sliced into 1/4" slices
- 5 green onions – sliced
- 4 cloves garlic – finely minced
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup beef broth
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ginger – fresh grated
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Thinly slice the beef steak and an angle against the grain.
- Whisk the marinade ingredients together until combined. Marinate the beef in the marinade for 15 minutes to 2 hours.
- Prepare the vegetables.
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Preheat the wok or large skillet or fry pan to a very hot temperature.
- Add a tablespoon a oil and swirl it around.
- Add half the beef strips in a single layer. Cook without disturbing them for about 2 minuted until one side begins to turn crispy and develop a sear.
- Flip the beef strips. When cooked through, remove them to a bowl.
- Cook the second half of beef strips the same as the first and then remove them to the bowl as well.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet and swirl to coat. Add the white/yellow onions slices and the carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. When the veggies are almost done, add the garlic to the vegetables and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until it is fragrant.
- Add the sauce to the vegetables and garlic. Continue to cook until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, about 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the meat and the green onions.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion slices.