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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of John Soules Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
Make a takeout favorite at home with this Easy Hunan Beef recipe. It’s a quick version of a Chinese dish that uses a few simple ingredients. In about 15 minutes you’ll enjoy a fresh and flavorful dinner that you can easily make gluten free.
Easy Homemade Hunan Beef
I enjoy the flavors of Asian-inspired cuisine. But as someone who is gluten free, I can’t just pick up the phone and order it from a restaurant. So I usually make my own, whether it’s a beef stir fry or chicken fried rice.
While most of these dishes are fairly quick to make, some involve a few more steps than I have time for on a busy weeknight. Or they might require ingredients that might be a little hard to find.
So I like to take inspiration from authentic versions and make them simple for anyone to prepare and be able to enjoy the essence of the flavors of this dish.
I encourage you to try this authentic version of Hunan Beef and learn all about the history and the ingredients. It involves a simple and flavorful marinade that also coats the beef in a bit of cornstarch to make it nice and crispy. And the sauce made with several types of fresh and dried peppers hits your tastebuds with all kinds of spice.
But if you want to be able to make it super fast when you don’t have a lot of time, I’ve got some shortcuts for you.
What is Hunan Beef?
First of all, you might be wondering what this dish is. Hunan Beef is a traditional Chinese dish from the Hunan cuisine of China. It is a spicy dish from the use of various chilis and spices, but by making it at home you can adjust the level of heat to your taste.
Hunan Beef vs Szechuan Beef vs Mongolian Beef
Traditionally, Hunan Beef gets its heat from a combination of chilies, from red to green, fresh to dried to pickled. However, for those that find it too spicy, red bell peppers can be used.
Szechuan dishes are also usually quite spicy, but that is due to the use of Szechaun peppercorn versus chili peppers. Szechuan Beef also usually is a bit sweeter and has more sauce. Mongolian Beef, on the other hand, is mild and somewhat sweet, using brown sugar and soy sauce.
Why This Recipe Works
Traditionally it is made with some ingredients that may not be as readily available in your local grocery store. That is why I am sharing this simple version. You can get much of the original flavor, but with ingredients that are easy to find and a method that is super quick to prepare.
In this recipe, I use a combination of red bell peppers for the texture and a red chili paste known as sambal oelek for the spice in order to give it a little kick. This simplifies the preparation since removing the seeds and chopping those little chilies can be time-consuming and you have to use care to avoid burning your fingers and even your eyes. Sambal oelek is usually in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
It’s easy to make gluten free because the only substitute you have to make is for the soy sauce, and gluten free soy sauce or tamari is now readily available almost anywhere you shop.
And part of the reason this meal is so fast is that I used fully cooked Beef Steak from John Soules Foods. Already lightly seasoned and cooked, you don’t have to take the time to marinate and brown the meat. So dinner comes together in no time!
You only need 10 simple ingredients to make this bold Hunan Beef recipe. Then just serve it over rice or cauliflower rice maybe with a few scallions for garnish.
- Beef broth: Adds the savory, rich flavor to the sauce.
- Soy sauce: Use gluten free soy sauce or tamari, if needed.
- Honey: This adds a hint of sweetness and the thickness you usually get from oyster sauce.
- Chili paste: A common one is known as sambal oelek.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce.
- Avocado or vegetable oil: You just need a neutral-flavored oil, so use whatever you prefer.
- Fresh broccoli: Cut into small florets so they cook quickly.
- Red bell pepper: Chopped about the size of the broccoli.
- Beef: This recipe used John Soules fully cooked Beef Steak slices.
- Garlic: Minced or crushed with a garlic press.
How to Make It
Make the Sauce: Whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili paste, and cornstarch and set aside.
Saute the Vegetables: Heat 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the broccoli florets, red bell pepper, and celery, and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Heat the Beef: Add the steak slices and garlic and saute for another minute or two.
Thicken the Sauce: Pour the sauce mixture over the beef and vegetables in the skillet. Toss to coat and simmer for another 3-5 minutes until everything has heated through and the sauce has thickened.
Serving Hunan Beef
Spoon the beef, veggies, and sauce over your favorite base:
Then give them a sprinkle of scallions, if desired.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months, being sure to cool it completely and seal it tightly to keep out any air and moisture in order to prevent freezer burn. After freezing and thawing, the vegetables will be a little softer.
If frozen, be sure to that the Hunan Beef in the refrigerator overnight. You can then warm it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring gently until heated through. Or transfer it to a microwave-safe container and microwave for severe minutes, stirring occasionally until hot.
Tips for Success
Cut It Evenly: To make sure it cooks quickly, you’ll want to cut the broccoli into small florets. Then be sure the peppers are cut a similar size so they cook evenly.
How to Adjust the Spiciness and Heat: The amount of chili paste in this recipe just gives a subtle kick in the background, making it kid-friendly. But if you really like spice, feel free to add more. You can also substitute the chili paste or red bell peppers with poblanos, Fresno chili peppers, or even dried chili peppers.
Change it Up: Feel free to use different vegetables like zucchini, green beans, or different colored peppers. You can even toss in some water chestnuts or baby corn.
Easy Hunan Beef
- ½ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari (gluten free, if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 tsp chili paste such as sambal oelek, or more to make it spicier
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- Two 6 oz. packages John Soules Foods fully cooked Beef Steak slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Rice or cauliflower rice, for serving
- Sliced scallions for garnish, optional
- Whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, honey, chili paste, and cornstarch and set aside.
- Heat 1 Tbsp avocado or vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and red bell pepper, and saute for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the steak slices and garlic and saute for another minute or two.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the beef and vegetables in the skillet. Toss to coat and simmer for another 3-5 minutes until everything has heated through and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve over rice or cauliflower rice and garnish with the green parts of the scallions, if desired.
More Recipes to Make with Cooked Beef
For more ideas to use the fully cooked beef from John Soules, try adding it to recipes like these: