This Hunan beef is a simple and delicious pan with tender strips of steak, crunchy vegetables and an authentic Hunan sauce. No thickeners or sugary sauces required, it’s keto friendly but full of flavor!
When it comes to simple keto dinner recipes, we love a few stir-frying, Hunan chicken, and this Hunan beef.
Stir fries have to be one of my most cooked dinners. It requires minimal preparation and can literally use up leftover vegetables and soon-to-be-decaying proteins.
Every time I make a stir-fry, I try to recreate some of my favorite takeaway orders. I try not to pick favorites, but I make Hunan beef a lot.
What is Hunan beef?
Hunan beef is a tasty dish that originated in the Chinese province of Hunan. Their dishes are known to have many hot and spicy flavors and common cooking styles like stirring and sautéing.
This particular recipe is one of the simplest yet delicious dishes of all. It’s a flavorful pan with a touch of sweetness and acidity. The more authentic ones tend to cook the beef until it is drier and has an almost smoky taste.
The Americanized Hunan beef is a little different. This is the version you can find in most Chinese takeaways or restaurants. It’s less spicy and tends to be a little sweeter thanks to the addition of white and brown sugars.
Today’s recipe has a little twist. A keto makeover was given that swapped out some of the higher-carb sauces and condiments for carbohydrate-free ones. But don’t let that stop you – it tastes just as tasty and flavorful as you expect it to be!
Perfectly tender strips of beef, sautéed with fresh vegetables and coated with a thick and delicious sauce, this kind of stir-fry is a great way to impress your friends. the The secret of the perfect Hunan beef is the use of a high quality and thick chili sauce– It takes the taste to another level!
Ingredients for this recipe
For roast beef
- beef– Flank steak or sirloin steak. Cut your beef into equally sized slices so they cook evenly.
- Vegetable oil– Any neutral flavored oil can be used. The Hunan sauce contains sesame oil to add extra flavor.
- Ginger and garlic– A must for every good stir-fry meal.
- broccoli– Cut into florets of equal size.
- paprika– Green, red and yellow peppers.
For the Hunan-style sauce
- beef broth– Also known as beef broth. Try using an organic beef broth as it has a more neutral and rich taste.
- sesame oil– An aromatic oil that is often used in Asian dishes. A little goes very far, so don’t overdo it
- I am willow– Tamari can also be used.
- Fish sauce– Gives the sauce an extra salty kick.
- White wine vinegar– Apple cider vinegar can also be used.
- Brown sugar substitute– A keto alternative to brown sugar. This balances out the salty and flavorful ingredients.
- Chili paste– Any unsweetened chili sauce can be used. I like to use Sambal Oelek, which can be found in most grocery stores.
- Xanthan gum– Thicken the sauce.
How do you make Hunan beef?
Start by making the Hunan sauce. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients and stir until everything is combined. Set it aside and prepare the spatula.
In a large wok or non-stick pan, add the vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the beef and cook for 4-5 minutes until browned and no longer pink. Remove the beef from the pan and put it back on the stove. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for two minutes until fragrant. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes until they are soft.
Finally, put the beef back in the pan. Pour the hunan sauce over everything and mix well. Let the stir fry cook together for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Serve immediately Cauliflower rice or steamed rice.
Hunan beef VS Szechuan beef
Both beef dishes come from China from the province of Hunan and the province of Sichuan. Aside from their origins, Hunan beef and Szechuan beef have some important differences.
Szechuan beef tends to use spicier and sweeter flavors and often contains black peppercorns to give it an extra kick. It also often uses whole dried chilies to enhance the flavorful flavors. This is different from Hunan beef, which uses chili paste and has a more balanced spicy taste instead of an intense one. In addition, Szechuan beef is often lower in vegetables and can contain nuts such as cashews and peanuts.
How does Hunan beef taste?
Hunan beef tastes like any good roast beef out there, but with a few differences. Thanks to the chili paste, it has spicier notes, which are balanced by the sweet (brown sugar substitute) and salty (soy and fish sauce) elements. The sauce is thicker than most which holds the beef and vegetables very well.
Tips for the best Hunan beef
- Cut your beef into strips of equal size so that they cook evenly. The same goes for the vegetables!
- Feel free to change the vegetables you use and add other low-carb favorites like zucchini, eggplant, and Asian vegetables.
- If you don’t like spicy food, feel free to use sweet chilli sauce or sriracha. You still get a little kick!
Tips for storing, freezing and warming up
- To store: Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Put the cooked and cooled pan dishes in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw it at room temperature.
- Warm up: Heat the pan in the microwave in 30-second increments or heat it in a non-stick pan.
More keto dinner recipes to try
frequently asked Questions
Should you marinate beef before frying it?
You should never marinate beef before adding it to a pan, as the sauce should be flavorful and thick enough to hold the beef slices in place. If you marinate the meat beforehand, there is a risk that it will become particularly salty and tough after cooking.
What’s the best cut of beef to turn the pan?
The best cuts of beef for a stir-fry are leaner cuts such as flank steak, rock steak or sirloin steak. If you don’t have time to cut your own beef, your grocery store can find lightly fried strips of beef, which is more commonly sliced flank steak.
Calories from Hunan Beef
This recipe makes 4 servings, and each serving has 298 calories. Add some cauliflower rice and you have a balanced meal for under 350 calories. Compare that to take-away Hunan beef, which has over 800 calories BEFORE adding rice.
Hungry for more? Subscribe to my Newsletter and keep following Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram for all current updates.
For the stir-fry dishes
- 1 tablespoon oil Vegetable, safflower or peanut oil
- 1 lb Flank steak cut into 1/4 inch strips
- 1 great onion chopped
- 2 Cloves garlic chopped
- 1 head broccoli chopped into florets of the same size
- 1 great paprika chopped
For the Hunan-style sauce
In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the Hunan sauce and stir until everything is well mixed. Put aside.
Put the oil in a non-stick pan and heat it over medium heat. Once hot, add the strips of beef and cook until they are no longer pink. Take the beef out of the pan and put it back on medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until tender for 2-3 minutes.
Add the beef back to the pan and pour the Hunan sauce over it. Fry for 4-5 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat and serve immediately.
TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
FREEZE: Put the cooked and cooled pan dishes in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw it at room temperature.
WARM UP: Heat the pan in the microwave in 30-second increments or heat it in a non-stick pan.
Portion: 1portion | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 10G | Protein: 31G | Fat: 13thG | Sodium: 1342mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 6thG | Vitamin A: 2231IE | Vitamin C: 188mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 3mg | NET CARBONS: 4thG