Black Pepper Beef

There’s been a slab of steak in the freezer staring at me for two months, it was left over from a meal-kit that I never made and since we’re in the moving-but-currently-stranded-so-I-should-eat-everything-in-my-freezer stage of life, that steak was put to work in a v v good way a la black pepper steak!!

Bare with me because there’s a few steps involved here! The combination of tenderizing the steak with baking soda and then marinating and velveting it using cornstarch makes the beef incredibly soft in texture — I was blown away by how it came out! If you’re ultra lazy and have to choose one, I would choose the latter. I used snow peas because I found some in my produce drawers, this is most often made with bell peppers but my sister hates them and the snow peas worked out great.

I used:

  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb flank steak, sliced into strips ~1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • steak marinade:
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 2 tsp shaoxing wine
    • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • can of baby corn
  • half a bag of snow peas ~4 oz.
  • black pepper sauce:
    • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
    • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 3 tbsp water
    • lots of ground black pepper (around 1/2 tsp or so to start, and add more later to taste)

To make:

  • Sprinkle the baking soda on the sliced steak and massage it in with your hands, then allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. This step helps to tenderize the steak!
  • Marinate the steak in cornstarch, soy sauce, and shaoxing wine to ‘velvet’ it for 15 minutes
  • Heat up oil in a pan or wok over medium-high heat and sear the meat until just shy of fully cooked, ~6-8 minutes, then remove from pan
  • Add additional oil and sauté onions and garlic for ~2-3 minutes until onions are cooked down and fragrant, deglaze the pan with a bit of shaoxing wine as needed
  • Then add in veggies until cooked through and vibrant
  • Mix in meat and sauce, stirring until everything is well-coated for another 1-2 minutes, adding more cracks of black pepper to taste