From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: Stir-Fry 101
Order beef and broccoli in most Chinese restaurants, and you are served a pile of tough meat and overcooked army-issue broccoli. Worst of all is the thick-as-pudding brown sauce, which, aside from being flavored with burnt garlic, is otherwise tasteless. We set out to rescue this dish from the tyranny of third-rate Chinese restaurants. For the meat, we found that flank steak offered the biggest beefy taste and slicing it thin made it tender. We cooked the beef in two batches over high heat to make sure it browned and didn’t steam. Then we cooked the broccoli until crisp-tender using a combination of methods—sautéing and steaming—and added some red bell pepper for sweetness and color. For the sauce, we made a simple mixture of oyster-flavored sauce, chicken broth, dry sherry, sugar, and sesame oil, which we lightly thickened with cornstarch so it clung beautifully to the beef and vegetables, but was in no way gloppy. Now we had it: Every component of the dish—the beef, the broccoli, and sauce—was distinct and cooked to the best of its ability.
To make slicing the steak easier, freeze it for 20 minutes. Serve this dish with white rice.