Stir-fried black bean beef in beer

Stir-fried black bean beef in beer

Chinese Unchopped
20 mins
Cooking time
5 mins
Martin Poole

Black bean sauce is really not hard to make, but for some reason it tends to be too overpowering or gelatinous in most restaurants and takeaways. Thanks to my Aunty Eunice, I learned an incredibly handy tip that you can use in so many dishes… and even maybe in life (we were making lobster noodles at the time): ‘Get it drunk first and it’ll all be OK.’ Here the addition of a fine lager or light beer to the black bean sauce really lightens it up and brings out the flavours of the black beans and ginger.


Quantity Ingredient
1 onion
1 green or red pepper
a thumb-size piece ginger
1 spring onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon preserved salted black beans, rinsed and drained in cold water
A pinch salt
400g rump steak or rib-eye steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
a dash sesame oil

The marinade

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon chinese five-spice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

The Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon dark soy sauce
200ml lager


  1. Finely slice the onion, pepper, ginger and spring onion. Finely chop the garlic and place in a small bowl or ramekin with the preserved black beans and salt, lightly crushing the beans and garlic together with the back of a spoon to release their flavours.
  2. Finely slice the meat, place it in a mixing bowl and add all the marinade ingredients except the cornflour. Using your hands, massage the ingredients into the meat until it is well coated, then add the cornflour and repeat until everything is well combined.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. BUILD YOUR WOK CLOCK: place your sliced onion at 12 o’clock, then arrange the peppers, ginger, garlic and black bean mixture, beef bowl, sauce bowl and spring onion clockwise around your plate.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over a high heat until smoking-hot. Add the onion and peppers, reduce the heat to medium and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until the onion has slightly softened. Transfer the onions and peppers to a bowl.
  6. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok and return to smoking point. Allow to smoke for 5 seconds (to ensure the wok is hot enough for the meat to sear well without sticking), then add the ginger, garlic and black bean mixture and beef to the wok. Spread the meat out across the base of the wok in one layer using a wooden spoon or spatula and leave to sear for 30 seconds until browned, then turn and repeat on the other side.
  7. Once the meat has browned on both sides, return the vegetables to the wok and pour over the sauce. Bring to a vigorous boil and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Stir in the sesame oil, spoon onto a serving plate and scatter over the spring onion to finish.


  • If you don’t fancy using beer (or any other alcohol) here, the lager can be replaced with any chicken or vegetable stock – even a light, sharp lemonade or soda water would work well.
School of Wok
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