Thai black pepper beef stir-fry recipe is packed with the best sweet and savory flavors, making for an easy weeknight dinner ready in under 30 minutes. Cook up a meaty dish with healthy vegetables like onions and bell peppers in no time.
Black pepper beef, also known as 'hei jiao niu liu' in Chinese cuisine, is a Chinese stir-fry dish that combines tender slices of beef with the complex flavor of black pepper. Commonly found in Chinese restaurants and takeout places, this dish is often made with a black pepper sauce with peppers and onions.
About Thai beef with black pepper
Thai black pepper beef stir-fry is my spicy twist on the Chinese classic, hei jiao niu liu.
This simple recipe makes a healthy and delicious dish without too much effort, perfect for those nights you don't want to spend forever in the kitchen.
We're talking tender strips of steak that have been marinated in a mix of cornstarch, egg white, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Imagine a beef dish that comes out so velvety smooth, it practically melts in your mouth.
This beef stir-fry is whipped up quicker than kids appearing at the scent of dinner, but we're not just tossing everything into the wok at once.
Marinating is the key step, transforming the steak into a rich, juicy, and tender piece of meat. Thai cuisine has no room for chewy beef!
While onions and pepper add texture and crunch, a blend of Thai seasonings coat everything in a rich black pepper sauce. Don't forget to serve the sizzling beef over steamed rice, it soaks up all the flavorful juices.
5 Reasons to try this recipe
Quick and easy: This dish is a sure winner of easy dinner recipes. Simply marinate the beef a day ahead, and the rest comes together in under 30 minutes.
Customizable: You can adjust the spice levels by adding fresh chili peppers and adjusting the amount of black pepper. Toss in your favorite vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, celery, peas, or use chicken or pork as an alternative protein.
Healthy meal: This Thai beef stir-fry is packed with protein, nutritious veggies, and doesn't skimp on flavor.
Asian flavors: This recipe is a blend of Thai and Chinese cuisine, offering the best of both worlds in one sizzling dish.
Family meal: Dial down the pepper, and you've got a dish that even the little ones will love.
For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
Beef - Cut into thin, even-sized slices that cook quickly.
Oyster sauce - Oyster sauce adds an umami flavor that deepens the taste of the beef.
Cornstarch - Acts as a shield, locking in the beef's juices and giving it a velvety texture.
Sesame oil - Brings a slightly nutty flavor that adds to the marinade.
Egg white - Egg white helps bind the cornstarch and the sauces to the beef strips.
Black peppercorns - Provides a kick of heat and aroma. Unlike fresh chili peppers, black peppercorns add a subtle spice.
Green onions - For a burst of color and a mild freshness. Both for garnishing and cooking.
Bell peppers - Adds a burst of color, crunch, and a subtle sweetness.
Onion - Onions absorb ass the delicious sauces, adding sweetness and a slight crunch to each bite.
Garlic - The base of many Thai stir-fry recipes is pungent garlic.
Golden mountain seasoning sauce - A key ingredient in Thai cuisine, boosting the overall flavors.
Oyster sauce - Oyster sauce add a rich salty flavors to all ingredients.
Water - Water thins out the sauce, bringing all flavors together.
Marinate the beef
In a large mixing bowl, combine egg white, cornstarch, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Use a glove to knead it by hand. Add beef and coat. Let the marinade sit for at least an hour.
Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat, then add oil. When hot, fry garlic until fragrant and golden.
Add the marinated beef and cook until done, but don't overcook.
Add golden mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, and water. Stir well to combine and coat the beef.
Toss in vegetables
Add onions, green onions, and bell peppers. Cook until they're as soft as you like. Serve immediately.
Recipe tips and tricks
Choose the right cut of beef for stir-frying: Sirloin steak, flank steak, ribeye, tenderloin, or top round. Be sure to cut off any large pieces of fat.
Slice the beef against the grain: To avoid a chewy, tough piece of meat.
Don't skip the marinade: The cornstarch locks in the juices. Give it at least 30 minutes to soak in all those flavors. For the best results, marinate overnight.
Use fresh ingredients: Fresh vegetables over frozen, and freshly crushed black peppercorns over the pre-ground stuff.
Cook in batches: If you're doubling this pepper steak recipe, cook it in batches. You don't ever want to overcrowd your wok pan.
High heat: Stir-frying over high heat in a hot wok ensures the beef cooks quickly without losing its flavor.
Allow your leftovers to come to room temperature and transfer them to an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftovers are best consumed within 3 days.
Freezing instructions: Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheating instructions: Reheat in a skillet or wok over medium heat until heated through. Alternatively, use the microwave.
Fun fact about black pepper
Black pepper was once so valuable it was used as currency. In the Middle Ages, it was used to pay taxes and rent.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ's)
Which part of beef for black pepper?
The best cuts of beef for black pepper beef are tender, flavorful cuts that cook quickly. Cuts like sirloin steak, flank steak, and ribeye are great choices. Just make sure to cut off any large amounts of excess fat.
What is the taste of black pepper sauce?
Black pepper sauce has a mildly spicy, slightly salty, robust, and smoky flavor. The heat from black peppercorns is balanced by the umami flavor of oyster sauce and the sweetness of vegetables.
What is the history of black pepper beef?
Black pepper beef, known is hei jiao niu liu in China, has its roots in Chinese cuisine. Over time, it's been adapted in various Asian countries, including Thailand. Black pepper used to be a luxury item on the ancient spice routes, so this dish was originally an expensive meal.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
This recipe can be made gluten-free by swapping oyster sauce for a gluten-free version. Make sure to use gluten-free cornstarch, check the labeling of golden mountain sauce, and the other ingredients as well.
I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this blog.