Chinese Pepper Steak


I wish I knew where my mother got this recipe, because it’s really good! This dish has a different flavor profile from the Pepper Steak recipe I published in October: while that recipe has more of a sweet-and-sour taste from the ketchup used, this one is definitely classic “Chinese buffet” pepper steak. I highly recommend marinating the beef strips for several hours to tenderize the meat and allow the flavor to deepen.

I used dark soy sauce instead of the fermented bean paste, and followed my mother’s hand-written note to substitute in ground ginger instead of using sliced fresh ginger. While I am generally in favor of fresh ingredients, I think she made the right call: reading the recipe, it directs the cook to first stir-fry the ginger, then add the beef strips, and later remove the ginger. I don’t want to sit there with a pair of chopsticks picking thin slices of ginger out of my skillet when I could be getting on with dinner! Ain’t nobody got time for that.


  • 1 pound steak (or lean beef cut of your choice), trimmed of fat and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium green pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 medium red pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth



In a medium bowl, combine the dry sherry, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of the cornstarch.


Add the beef strips to this marinade, and refrigerate for several hours.


In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, and sauté the garlic, green pepper, red pepper, and onions over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the skillet, and raise the heat to high.


Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, marinated beef strips, dark soy sauce, and ground ginger to the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes.


Add the chicken broth to the skillet, and bring to a boil.

Dissolve the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water, and add this mixture to the skillet along with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.


When the sauce has thickened, return the vegetables to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute.

Serve over a bed of rice.


Serves 4-6.

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2 thoughts on “Chinese Pepper Steak

  1. I always liked my mom’s pepper steak but I haven’t made it in a long time. This recipe is very similar, I’d like to try it. Did you think to finely grate the ginger into the marinade with a zester? Using a smaller amount, of course. Then you wouldn’t have to remove it. I think the flavor might be even more amazing. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. Grating the ginger would probably work great, Audrey! I didn’t have any on hand when I made this recipe, so I didn’t think to try it. If you do, let me know how it works out — I bet that would be really good!

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