This pepper steak recipe is straightforward with only a handful of ingredients. You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to make!
Here’s a common misconception about Chinese food: people think it is complex with lots of rare ingredients and too complicated for home cooks. Today we are going to prove otherwise! Not only are we going to make it simpler, but also a lot healthier. Rest assured that the flavor will still be delicious. Your days of greasy Chinese takeout are coming to an end. Let’s get you prepared!
What Is Chinese Pepper Steak Made Of?
Pepper steak is a Chinese-inspired dish that is popular in America. It is a stir-fried dish that consists of thinly sliced beef and bell peppers. Seasoning of the dish varies depending on the chef, but some popular ingredients are ginger, garlic, honey or brown sugar (for sweetness), soy sauce (and sometimes oyster sauce), spring onions, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.
Since it is a stir-fried dish, it tends to be greasy as restaurants sometimes go a bit heavy on the oil. While doing this might intensify the flavor of the dish, too much makes it greasy and not many diners enjoy the strong fragrance of oil.
Our recipe is going to be a bit different as we’re going to minimize the amount of oil as much as possible, creating a lighter, fresher dish. For this particular one, we’re going to leave out ginger, spring onions, and some other ingredients; but feel free to adjust to your liking. Consider our recipe as a foundation and guide for you to build your own take on pepper steak. Before we crack on with the main, let’s think about the side dishes.
What Do You Serve With Pepper Steak?
For a dish that is packed with protein and vegetables like this, you might think it wouldn’t need any side dish. Usually, it is served with rice, but today we are thinking outside the box and have come up with some alternative suggestions to pair with pepper steak:
- Roasted sweet potatoes: if you enjoy steak and fries, maybe you should try serving sweet potatoes with your pepper steak. The savory honey and soy sauce combination from the pepper steak should complement the sweetness of the potatoes. And vice versa, those lovely potatoes with a crispy crust and soft center will add more texture contrast to the steak.
- Roasted pumpkin: pepper steak and roasted pumpkin might sound like an unconventional combination, but they go surprisingly well together. While sweet potato adds a contrast of texture, pumpkin adds another dimension to the dish/a whole other level with its unique texture. The sweet pumpkin will also pair nicely with honey from the sauce. To make roasted pumpkin, simply cut into chunks, season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and herbs like thyme or rosemary. Bake until fork tender and serve with your pepper steak.
- Quinoa: unlike soft cooked rice, quinoa has a very interesting texture that falls between fluffy and chewy. Despite being high in carbs, quinoa is actually good for your health as it is high in fiber and antioxidants. Here’s an article on how to cook quinoa if you want more information about this fibrous grain.
How Many Calories Are in Chinese Pepper Steak?
According to our calculations, there are about 158 calories per serving in this Chinese pepper steak recipe. For a main dish, this one is very low in calories. However, do keep in mind that you are going to serve it with one or two sides, which will increase the overall calories. As long as the calories of your combination meal are about 750 or less, you’re good to go.
Is Pepper Steak Healthy?
Yes, this recipe is healthy for you. Here’s why:
First of all, check the nutrition facts below. You can see that this pepper steak recipe is low on carbohydrates, so would also work well for low-carb dieters.
At the same time as being a low-carb, low-fat dish, it is also packed with micronutrients and provides about 80% of your daily vitamin C intake. That amount of vitamin C comes from the bell peppers. Our body cannot produce vitamin C and the only way for us to get it is through food. If you would like to learn more about vitamin C, here is an article you might want to check out.
Pepper Steak Recipe
- 12 oz lean striploin thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp salt divided
- 1/4 tsp black pepper divided
- 2 tbsps less sodium soy sauce divided
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce divided
- 2 tbsp garlic minced, divided
- 3 tbsp soybean oil or vegetable oil, divided
- 8 oz bell peppers yellow and red, cut in to strips
- 4 oz yellow onions thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp white wine optional
- 1/3 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 oz fresh scallions cut into 1-inch strips
- 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds roasted, plus more to garnish
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 3 cups cooked medium-grain rice
- In a big bowl, marinate the beef with 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp less sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce, and 1 tbsp minced garlic. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 1/2 tbsp soybean oil over high heat. Add the sliced bell peppers and onions, and stir fry for 2 minutes or until just tender. Add the remaining 1 tbsp minced garlic, and 1/8 tsp salt. Stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp soybean oil to the same skillet and turn the heat to high. Add the marinated steak to the skillet and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add white wine and cook for 10 seconds, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Turn off the heat. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add chicken broth, cornstarch, 1 tbsp less sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce, and honey. Mix well to dissolve. Add this mixture to the skillet. Turn the heat to medium and stir constantly to cook for 10 seconds or until slightly thickened. Return the vegetables and beef to the pan. Add scallions, roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and the remaining 1/8 tsp black pepper. Turn the heat to high and stir vigorously to combine all ingredients. Turn off the heat. Add sesame oil. Stir to mix again.
- Transfer to a plate or a bowl, serve with cooked rice, and garnish with a sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds.
- When you’re buying striploin steak, you can ask your butcher to trim the fat and tendons off the beef and slice it thinly for you.
- Only add the sesame oil into the skillet when you’ve turned off the heat or else it will lose its fragrance.