Hunan Beef with Asparagus and Mixed Chiles

This spicy stir-fry is inspired by the Chinese-American take-out classic. Thinly sliced beef sirloin is coated in cornstarch and deep-fried until crisp, then it’s tossed with vegetables and a fiery sauce flavored with three kinds of chiles. Slideshow: Better Than Takeout Recipes 

Hunan Beef with Asparagus and Mixed Chiles
Photo: © Heather Chontos
Total Time:
1 hr


  • 1 1/4 pounds sirloin steak, sliced across the grain 1/8 inch thick

  • Cornstarch, for coating

  • 1/4 cup beef stock or low-sodium broth

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or malt vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 jalapeño, minced

  • 4 dried Thai chiles

  • 1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 pound asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch lengths

  • Salt

  • Steamed rice, for serving


  1. In a shallow bowl, lightly coat the sirloin with cornstarch and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the beef stock with the vinegar, soy sauce, sherry, oyster sauce and sambal oelek.

  2. In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil until shimmering. Add half of the sirloin and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sirloin to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining sirloin.

  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the wok. Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño and Thai chiles and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onion and asparagus and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the sirloin and the soy sauce mixture and simmer over high heat, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Discard the dried chiles and season with salt. Transfer the Hunan beef to a platter and serve with rice.

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