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Thai Black Pepper Beef Stir-Fry Recipe

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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.

Thai black pepper beef stir-fry with bell peppers, onions, and black pepper sauce in a golden dish.

If you love authentic beef recipes, make sure to check out my easy nam tok beef, the refreshing yum nua salad, and this creamy Thai beef panang curry recipe!

What is black pepper beef

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.

Thai woman holding a slice of beef with chopsticks over a golden dish with stir-fried black pepper beef and vegetables.

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!

Two hands presenting a golden dish with stir-fried beef and vegetables coated in sauce.

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.

Why try this Thai pepper steak 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.
Chopsticks lifting a slice of beef and bell pepper over a golden dish with stir-fried black pepper beef.

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Marinade

Bird's eye view of ingredients for marinating beef on a banana leaf; beef, egg white, cornstarch, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.
  • 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.

Stir-frying

Bird's eye view of recipe ingredients displayed on a banana leaf; marinated beef, golden mountain sauce, water, vegetables, black peppercorns, and oyster sauce.
  • 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.

Cooking instructions

Marinate the beef

Top-down view of marinated beef in a mixing bowl on a wooden background.

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.

Sauté garlic

Close-up of golden brown fried garlic in a pan.

Heat a wok or skillet over medium heat, then add oil. When hot, fry garlic until fragrant and golden.

Add beef

Close-up of stir-fried beef and garlic in a wok.

Add the marinated beef and cook until done, but don’t overcook.

Add seasonings

Close-up of stir-fried beef coated with black pepper sauce in a wok.

Add golden mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black pepper, and water. Stir well to combine and coat the beef.

Toss in vegetables

Close-up of black pepper beef stir-fried with vegetables in a pan.

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.

Kitchen tools

  • Cutting board & chef’s knife
  • Measuring spoons & cups
  • Mixing bowl: For marinating the beef.
  • Spatula
  • Wok: A wok is your stir-fry best friend, if you don’t have one, a good heavy skillet will work just fine.

How to serve Thai black pepper beef

Thai black pepper beef can be served for dinner or lunch. Pair with a portion of steamed jasmine rice or brown rice for a complete meal.

Optional garnishes

Roasted sesame seeds: For a crunchy texture and a subtle nutty flavor.

Fresh herbs: Add a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or sliced green onions (scallion) for extra flavor and color.

COMBINE WITH OTHER THAI MEALS

For a complete Thai food feast, serve this sizzling black pepper beef with other Thai food.

Side-dishes: As part of a larger meal, you can combine this recipe with moo yang, yum talay, yum nua

Appetizers: Try these tod mun pla, hat yai fried chicken, or Thai shrimp rolls.

How to store

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.

More Thai beef recipes you’ll love

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Thai Black Pepper Beef Stir-Fry Recipe

Thai black pepper beef stir-fry with bell peppers, onions, and black pepper sauce in a golden dish.
This stir-fry combines juicy beef with healthy vegetables and Asian flavors.
Praew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Main Course
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

FOR THE MARINADE

  • 9 ounces beef thin strips
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

FOR STIR-FRYING

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3.5 ounces bell peppers sliced, mixed colors
  • 0.7 ounces green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon golden mountain seasoning sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Add onions, green onions, and bell peppers. Cook until they’re as soft as you like. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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