Crispy stir fried beef and broccoli in a tangy and spicy sauce made with soy sauce, sugar and lime juice.

Crispy beef strips and broccoli in a tangy sauce on top of a bowl of boiled rice. Further bowl in the background.

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Do you like sticky, crispy Chinese beef but worry about how brown and lacking-in-veg it can often look?
I’m solving all of those problems with broccoli 😁

Ok, it doesn’t make this dish healthy, but a bit of green can only be good right?

Looking at the recipe, it sounds like a lot of sugar and soy sauce (and it is), but the combination with the lime juice just works to give that beautiful sweet/sour/salty taste.

I’ve even served up strips of this on sticks to serve as canapés over Christmas, and they were the first to go!

 Add in even more veggies if you like – peppers, sugarsnap peas, even courgette (zucchini) are great additions.

Chopsticks taking a piece of beef from a bowl of crispy beef and broccoli with rice

👩‍🍳PRO TIP You can also make it gluten free by replacing the soy sauce with tamari (I’ve done this several times and it works great!)

Crispy beef strips with broccoli on a bed of boiled rice.

I originally made this recipe after seeing it on (I’ve made a few modifications) – although this particular recipe isn’t on there any more. It’s one of those recipes I printed out about 10 years ago and kept in my little book of recipes way before I started the blog. So glad I did!!

🍲 Love a stir-fry beef recipe? Try these

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Sweet and Tangy Crispy Beef with Broccoli

Sweet and Tangy Crispy Beef with Broccoli in a beautiful lime and soy sticky sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 360 g (3/4 lb) thin cut sirloin steaks (approx 3 steaks) cut into thin strips*
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch the flour kind, not the grainy kind
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 large head of broccoli cut into small florets
  • 3 tbsp lime juice (from about about 2 large or 3 small fresh limes)
  • 6 tbsp dark soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
  • 7 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 red chilli chopped – discard the seeds if you don’t like it too hot
  • 4 spring onions (scallions) chopped

To Serve:

  • boiled rice
  • spring onions (scallions) and/or chopped red chillies to garnish
  • 1 tsp chilli pepper flakes


  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Mix the cornflour with the salt and pepper and toss the beef strips in the cornflour until completely coated.
    3 tbsp vegetable oil, 360 g (3/4 lb) thin cut sirloin steaks, 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • When the oil is hot, tip the beef in and fry until dark brown and crispy.  I try not to move the meat around too much as this seems to reduce the amount of crispiness you get.  It generally takes about 5 or 6 minutes to crisp up the beef, with about 3 or 4 stirs during that time.  
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pan and place in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to soak up excess fat.
  • There should still be some oil left in the pan at this point. Take the pan off the heat and throw in the ginger and garlic (the garlic will burn if you have it on the heat), give it a stir for 30 seconds and then add the broccoli to the pan.  Put it back on a medium heat and stir-fry the broccoli for a minute or two.
    1 thumb sized piece of ginger, 3 garlic cloves, 1 large head of broccoli
  • Mix the lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl, then pour onto the broccoli in the pan.  
    3 tbsp lime juice, 6 tbsp dark soy sauce, 7 tbsp caster sugar
  • Turn up the heat and let it bubble for a couple of minutes until the sauce starts to reduce a little.  
  • Add the beef back in, give it a stir and heat through for 1 minute, then add in the chopped chillies and spring onions.  Give it a quick stir and then serve it with boiled rice.
    1 red chilli, 4 spring onions (scallions)
  • Garnish with some spring onions and/or chopped chillies and a few chilli pepper flakes.
    boiled rice, spring onions (scallions) and/or chopped red chillies to garnish, 1 tsp chilli pepper flakes


*It’s easier to cut the steak into thin strips if you place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up a little.

Can I make it gluten free?

Yes! Replace the soy sauce with tamari. I’ve done this lots of times and it works really well. You must ensure you use the correct amount of lime juice and sugar though, otherwise the tamari can overpower the flavours.

Can I freeze it or make it ahead?

This recipe works best when made and served right away. Freezing/chilling then reheating means the beef won’t be crispy.
However, it does still taste really good. So if you did want to freeze it, then cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat thoroughly in the wok or a microwave until piping hot throughout. You can add a splash of water if it’s a little dry.
Note: The nutritional information provided here doesn’t include rice or garnishes


Calories: 394kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 1623mg | Potassium: 988mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 1200IU | Vitamin C: 169.4mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 3.8mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Oh my goodness Amazing was gonna do the Chilli crispy beef but the steak was smaller than I realised had some broccoli to bulk it up so switched to this. A massive success Ta. Paul from the Lizard