Chinese Pepper Steak

Preparing Asian food can be time consuming, with all that chopping and marinating, but I promise you and your family will be happy with the results.  Most of the ingredients I use for Asian cooking are constant in every dish.  If you like Asian food, these pantry staples are a must to have in your cupboard.  


Many of these items can be found in the Asian aisle of a well stocked supermarket.  For my family of 4, with 2 teenage boys, I always double this recipe.  It is adapted from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's book The Chinese Kitchen.  She says this recipe yields 6 servings.  Not for us.  Leftovers are always a welcome lunch too.  The recipe below is written as Eileen wrote it, serving 6.  I say double it.  If you are looking for a great book, check out The Chinese Kitchen.  It offers many traditional Chinese dishes, technique and history.


For the marinade

  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
  • 3/4 tsp. dark soy sauce or mushroom soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 3/4 lb. London broil, sliced thin

For the sauce

  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Everything Else

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced very fine into a paste, or put through a garlic press
  • 2 Tbsp. Garlic Black Bean Sauce (or fermented black beans, washed, rinsed, and drained)
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • One 1/2-inch-thick slice of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 bell peppers - the color of your choice, cut into 2x1 inch pieces
  • 1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia), halved and cut into 1/2 inch wedges (optional)
  • Steamed white rice


In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.  Add the beef and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and reserve.  Place the crushed garlic and black beans or black bean sauce into a bowl.  Crush the beans together with the garlic to form a paste.  Set aside.

Heat a wok or large non-stick frying pan over high heat for 30 seconds.  Add 1 Tbsp. of the peanut oil and coat the wok using a spatula.  When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the ginger slice and stir until the ginger turns light brown.  Add the peppers and onion and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and transfer the peppers and onion to a bowl and set aside.  Wipe off the wok and spatula with paper towels.

Heat the wok over high heat for 30 seconds.  Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. of peanut oil and coat the wok.  Add the garlic-black bean paste and stir for about 30 seconds, add the beef and marinade and spread in a thin layer.  Cook for 1 minute, tipping the wok from side to side for even cooking.  Turn the beef over and cook for 30 seconds, until the beef changes color.  Add the reserved peppers and onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Make a well in the mixture, stir the sauce mixture, and pour it in the well.  Stir and mix well until the sauce thickens and turns dark brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir the sauce into the beef and peppers.  Turn off the heat and transfer to a platter, serve with steamed white rice.