Ginger Beef Stir Fry

This stir fry actually tasted pretty good, which surprised me. I attempted it with some hesitancy since plum sauce is an ingredient I had never used, nor heard of, until I saw this recipe. Plum sauce is thick and sweet, and it just didn’t look appealing, but it came highly rated on the web site where I found the recipe, so I had faith it would be good. And it was. It ended up having a sweet taste, kind of like the sweet and sour dishes at Chinese restaurants only without the sour part…just the sweet part.

The 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes left the dish a bit on the spicy side, so I reduced it to 1/8 the next time I made it. Much better for me as I don’t like overly spicy food.

I’ve used cashews rather than salted nuts before because that was what we had on hand. I like the sweetness of the cashews, but the salt of the peanuts adds a nice underlayer of flavor to the dish. As long as it has a crunchy element, whether it be peanuts, cashews, or just rice noodles, it satisfies my palate.

If you don’t have plum sauce, try the Asian section of your market or find an Asian store. Also, you can try a substitution which I’ll add to the recipe below.

Ginger Beef Stir Fry

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  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. plum sauce (see below for plum sauce substitution)
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger (I use my zester)
  • 1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 – 1/4  tsp. red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you like your dishes
  • 1 lb. boneless sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1½ cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced/julienned (I added this to original recipe)
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced (I added this to original recipe)
  • 2 – 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. salted peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • rice, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, combine the water and cornstarch; whisk until smooth.  Stir in the plum sauce, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, cook the steak strips until no longer pink.  Remove to a plate and set aside, draining the excess fat from the skillet if necessary.
  3. Add the oil to the pan and heat through.  Add the red pepper, broccoli and carrot pieces to the skillet and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and zucchini about 2-3 minutes into cooking of pepper, broccoli, and carrots. Continue stirring for about 2 more minutes.
  5. Mix in the green onion and garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Return the steak pieces to the pan.  Add the sauce, stirring well to coat everything.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes more.
  7. Stir in the peanuts.
  8. Serve over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

Plum sauce substitution:

Mix together the following:

  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. plum jam or apricot preserves or orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, who adapted from The Comfort of Cooking, originally from Allrecipes