Beef with Kailan (Chinese Broccoli)

This beef with kailan (牛肉炒芥蓝) is a classic Chinese stir-fry. With meat and veg both on the same plate, it can be the only side-dish to go with steamed rice on the dinner table and we’ll still be satisfied.

More Beef Recipes:

Beef with Kailan (Chinese Broccoli) Recipe
The gravy is deliciously savoury in this dish with flavour from the beef, ginger, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, soy sauce and Chinese wine. We love to drizzle every bit of sauce over steamed rice.

Ingredients (Beef with Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry)

Stir-fry Beef (Flank Cut)
For everyday beef stir-fry, I usually use the flank cut (above) as it is inexpensive and remains tender after cooking. For the occasional treat or when there’s a irresistible sale, one can use more premium cuts such as tenderloin, sirloin, or ribeye.

Hong Kong Kailan (Chinese Broccoli)
And this is the main green for this dish: kailan (芥蓝) aka Chinese broccoli. It is commonly labelled as “Hong Kong kailan” (we also have “chye sim kailan” and “baby kailan”) at the local supermarkets here. The kailan stems are thick, so this dish will really benefit from cooking the stems and leaves separately. I slice the thick kailan stems to thin diagonal slices (see above), stir-fry in the wok for about 2 minutes or until they start to soften, before adding the leaves which cook in a much shorter time.

Aromatics for Beef & Chinese Broccoli Recipe
And these are the aromatics for the stir-fry: garlic, chilli, shallots and ginger. I’m using chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli) for some real heat (despite being de-seeded, they are still hot). If you don’t want the heat, you can use finger-length chilli instead.

Stir-fry Beef with Chinese Broccoli Recipe

Beef with Kailan (Chinese Broccoli) Recipe

Flank is the most value-for-money cut of beef you can use for this stir-fry: the beef will remain tender after cooking, as long as it is not over-cooked. You can also use more premium cuts such as tenderloin, sirloin, or ribeye.

Check out the previous page for photos of the ingredients.


  • 150 grams beef flank sliced thinly & diagonally against the grain
  • 150 grams kailan (Chinese broccoli) separate leaves from stems; stems slice thinly & diagonally; bigger leaves cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 + 1 tbsp cooking oil divided
  • 3 shallots sliced thinly
  • 3 thinly sliced ginger julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 chilli padi or half finger-length red chilli de-seeded & sliced thinly
  • cornstarch solution combine 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water in a small cup


  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 dashes white pepper powder

(B) SAUCE (combine in a small cup)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp fine brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Chinese wine


1. Marinate sliced beef in (A) for 20 minutes or overnight in fridge.
2. Pre-cook beef. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in wok, pan-fry beef until 3/4 cooked. Dish them out on a plate and set aside.
3. Stir-fry aromatics. Carefully clean the pan with paper towel, then heat the pan and add the remaining oil. Stir-fry shallots, ginger, garlic and chilli briefly until aromatic.
4. Cook & serve. Add kailan stems, stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, or until they start to soften. Then add the kailan leaves and sauce ingredients (B). Stir-fry until the leaves are wilted. Return the previously cooked beef back to the wok and stir-fry briskly. Let the contents simmer, thicken with cornstarch solution and serve.