Char Siu Beef with Snow Peas and Choy Sum

"Char siu" is pronounced as "char-soo." a popular Chinese barbecue dish made typically with pork, but we're using ground beef in this unique twist! A delicious meal paired with crunchy snow peas and choy sum.
The sweet and savoury char siu sauce, the star of this recipe, imparts an irresistible glaze that coats the tender beef and infuses it with a rich flavour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Are you looking to add a burst of Asian flavours to your dinner table? Maybe you need recipes with ground beef and rice? This mouthwatering recipe for Char Siu Beef with Snow Peas and Choy Sum is the answer!

Char Siu, a popular Chinese barbecue recipe, is typically made with pork, however in this unique twist, I’ve created this Asian ground beef recipe that is so delicious. Paired with crunchy snow peas and choy sum, this dish offers a delightful medley of textures and flavours that will leave you craving more.

Ground beef stirfry with beans and asian greens in light grey bowl

Why this recipe is amazing

Variations also known as “sticky chicken” or “Chinese BBQ pork,” a versatile ingredient that often steals the spotlight in dishes like Char Siu Bao—those divine steamed buns filled with tender pork belly. Today, we’re letting beef shine. And the real hero? It’s that irresistible sweet and savoury char siu sauce. Once it glazes the tender beef, you’ll be treated to an explosion of rich flavours that will keep you coming back for more.

Burst of flavours: Savoury umami of the char siu beef, the sweetness of the sauce, the freshness of the vegetables, and the aromatic notes of garlic and ginger.

Quick & Easy to make: With straightforward cooking techniques and easily accessible ingredients, this ground beef and rice recipe is suitable for all cooking levels. It comes together quickly, making it a convenient choice for busy weeknight dinners or when you’re short on time.

Versatile protein options: Flexibility in protein choices allows you to cater to different dietary preferences. Whether it’s lean ground beef, chicken, pork, or even tofu, you can change the protein that suits your taste, dietary needs or whatever is in your fridge.

Customisable: Adjust the spice level, sweetness, and even changing vegetables based on your personal preferences and ingredient availability. You have the freedom to tailor the dish to your liking.

What ingredients are needed

Here’s an explanation of the ingredients used in the easy beef recipe and their purposes, along with potential substitutes if needed:

  • Lean ground beef: The main protein source for the dish, adding a rich and meaty flavour to this Asian ground beef recipe. If desired, you can substitute it with other meats or plant-based options. See my list below in ‘Make it your own’.
  • Soy sauce: provides a savoury umami flavour and adds depth to the dish. If you have a soy allergy or prefer a different flavour profile, you can use tamari sauce (gluten-free soy sauce) or coconut aminos as a substitute.
  • Mirin: a sweet rice wine that adds a subtle sweetness and enhances the overall flavour profile of the dish. If you don’t have mirin on hand, you can substitute it with a mixture of equal parts rice vinegar and sugar.
  • Garlic and ginger: These aromatic ingredients add a burst of flavour to the dish. Garlic provides a savoury note, while ginger adds a warm and slightly spicy element. Freshly minced garlic and grated ginger are recommended, however you can use pre-minced garlic and ginger paste as substitutes if needed.
  • Sesame oil: Sesame oil imparts a nutty and aromatic flavour, enhancing the overall taste of the dish. Use toasted sesame oil for a more pronounced flavour.
  • Cornflour/starch: is used as a thickening agent to create a glossy sauce consistency. It helps bind the ingredients together and gives the dish a velvety texture.
  • Hoisin sauce: Hoisin sauce is a sweet and savoury condiment that adds depth and richness to the dish. I prefer a sweeter variety of hoisin. Check the labels to ensure they are gluten-free if you require as not all hoisin is GF.
  • Chinese 5 spice: a blend of five aromatic spices, usually cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. It adds a distinctive and complex flavour to the dish. If you don’t have Chinese 5 spice, you can create a substitute by combining equal parts ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground fennel seeds, and a pinch of ground Szechuan peppercorns.
  • Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine: a popular Chinese rice wine that enhances flavour by adding some sweet acidity. If you can’t find Shaoxing wine, you can substitute it with dry sherry or rice vinegar mixed with a small amount of sugar.
  • Brown sugar: Adds a subtle sweetness to balance the savoury and umami flavours of the dish. You can substitute it with honey if desired.
char siu recipe with choy sum

Make it Your Own – Substitutions and Swaps

Change the Protein:

This recipe offers incredible versatility, making it adaptable to various protein choices based on your preferences or dietary needs. If you’re a chicken lover, simply substitute the ground beef with ground / thinly sliced chicken breast or thigh. The same goes for pork, turkey or tofu. The char siu sauce recipe will work its magic resulting in tender and flavourful bites.

Different Vegetables:

Here are some vegetable substitutions you can consider for this recipe. Feel free to mix and match these vegetable substitutions based on your preference and availability.

  1. Broccoli: Replace snow peas or choy sum with broccoli florets to make an epic beef broccoli recipe! Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry it along with the beef. The beef and broccoli pair well with the flavours of the dish and adds a pleasant crunch.
  2. Green beans: Trim and cut fresh green beans into 2.5cm/1-inch pieces. Stir-fry them along with the beef for a delicious and crisp addition. Green beans offer a crunchy texture and a vibrant green colour.
  3. Bok choy: If you can’t find choy sum, bok choy makes an excellent substitute. Chop the bok choy into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry them along with the other ingredients. Bok choy has a mild and slightly sweet taste that complements the dish well.
Chinese sticky chicken recipe in grey bowl with snow peas and greens

Rice, Noodles, Bao or Wraps:

If you prefer not to serve this dish with basmati rice, here are some alternative serving suggestions that can complement the flavours.

  • Jasmine or brown rice: Both of these rice options are great and provide different textures and flavours to the dish. Aromatic and tender jasmine rice or chewy and nutty brown rice, either option will be yummy.
  • Noodles: Serve the char siu recipe over cooked egg noodles or rice noodles. The noodles will absorb the delicious sauce and provide a hearty base for the dish.
  • Lettuce Wraps: Transform this dish into a fun and interactive meal by serving the char siu stirfry in lettuce wraps. Use large lettuce leaves, such as iceberg or cos/romaine lettuce.
  • Bao Buns: steamed buns or mantou are a wonderful idea to use for this Chinese bbq recipe. Fill each bun with a generous portion of ground beef or try char siu pork, creating a delightful and flavourful bao bun sandwich. You can also add some additional toppings like sliced cucumber, Japanese mayo and chopped spring onion/scallion for extra freshness and crunch.
  • Tortilla Wraps: If you prefer a fusion twist, use soft flour tortillas or Chinese-style pancakes as wraps. Spread a layer of hoisin sauce on the tortilla, then add the rice and ground beef. Roll it up tightly, similar to a burrito, and enjoy the combination of textures and flavours in each bite.
stir fry beef recipe in grey bowl

Setting you up for success – Tips & Tricks

  • Choose lean ground beef: Opt for lean ground beef to minimise excess fat in the dish. It will still provide plenty of flavour whilst keeping the overall dish lighter.
  • Marinate the beef: For enhanced flavour and if you have time, marinate the ground beef in the sauce mixture for at least 15 minutes before cooking. This allows the meat to absorb the flavours and results in a more flavourful result.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste: Before serving, taste the dish and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more soy sauce, hoisin sauce, or spices to suit your personal preferences.
  • Don’t overcook the vegetables: To maintain the vibrant colour and crispness of the snow peas and choy sum, be careful not to overcook them. Stir-fry them just until they are tender-crisp therefore retaining their freshness and texture.
  • Prep ahead: Save time by prepping the ingredients in advance. You can mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and chop the vegetables a day ahead, storing them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. This way, when it’s time to cook, you’ll have everything ready to go.
  • Double the recipe for leftovers: If you want to have leftovers for future meals, consider doubling the recipe. The char siu beef and vegetables can be enjoyed as a tasty filling for sandwiches, wraps, or as a topping for salads the next day.
  • Use a non-stick pan or wok: To prevent the ingredients from sticking to the pan or wok, use a non-stick surface or ensure that your pan is well-seasoned. This will make it easier to stir-fry the beef and vegetables without them sticking and burning.

Frequently Asked Questions

When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:

Can I use a different protein instead of ground beef?

Yes, you can adapt the recipe by using ground chicken, pork, or even tofu as a protein substitute. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.

Can I make this dish in advance?

While it’s best to enjoy the dish fresh, you can prepare certain components in advance. Cook the ground beef and chop the vegetables ahead of time, then store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply stir-fry the beef and vegetables together and heat the sauce.

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze any leftover Char Siu. Store the cooled leftovers in airtight containers or freezer bags, and they can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. The vegetables won’t have the same crunch yet it will be tasty. You can always freeze the meat and rice and then prepare fresh vegetables when needed.

Can I adjust the spiciness of the dish?

Absolutely! The Chinese bbq dish itself isn’t spicy with chilli however you can add chilli if you’d like. Feel free to add my Szechuan chilli oil or hot sauce for a kick.

Can I make it gluten-free?

Yes, you can make this stir fry beef recipe gluten-free by ensuring you use gluten-free soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornflour/starch. Check the labels of the ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free or use specifically designated gluten-free alternatives.

Can I make it vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by substituting ground beef with plant-based alternatives such as vegetarian ground “meat” or crumbled tofu. Ensure the sauces you use are also vegetarian or vegan-friendly.

Can I adjust the sweetness of the dish?

Certainly! The sweetness can be adjusted by adding more or less brown sugar or hoisin sauce to suit your taste preferences. I personally prefer it a little sweeter however feel free to taste and adjust the flavours according to your liking.

Remember, these are general answers to common questions, and you can always adapt the recipe to your specific needs and preferences. If you have any questions then let me know so I can add them!

ground beef and rice recipes in grey bowls

Looking For More Yumminess?

Whether it is more Asian ground beef recipes, simple meal ideas or tasty snacks obviously we have you covered!

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know how it turned out for you! Comment below, tag @missmolly_makes on Instagram using #missmollymakes or visit us LIVE at twitch.tv/missmollymakes.com

stir fry beef recipe

Char Siu Beef with Snow Peas and Choy Sum

Servings 4 serves
"Char siu" is pronounced as "char-soo." a popular Chinese barbecue dish made typically with pork, but we're using ground beef in this unique twist! A delicious meal paired with crunchy snow peas and choy sum.
The sweet and savoury char siu sauce, the star of this recipe, imparts an irresistible glaze that coats the tender beef and infuses it with a rich flavour.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Equipment

  • large frying pan or wok
  • small bowl

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup soy sauce use tamari for GF
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tsp cornflour/starch
  • cup hoisin sauce Use GF version if necessary
  • ½-1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

To Serve

  • basmati rice cooked
  • 250 g ( cups) snow peas halved longway
  • 1-2 bunch (1-2) choy sum trimmed, cut into 6cm/ 3 inch pieces
  • 1 long red chilli thinly sliced
  • 1/4 (¼) fresh coriander/cilantro chopped
  • Szechuan chilli oil optional

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned and cooked through. Remove any excess fat from the pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, mirin, garlic, grated ginger, sesame oil, cornflour/starch, hoisin sauce, Chinese 5 spice, pepper, Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, and brown sugar.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the cooked ground beef into the pan. Stir well to combine and let it simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the meat well.
  • In a separate pot, cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions.
  • Add the snow peas and choy sum to the skillet with the beef. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
    Alternatively, you may want to quickly cook the vegetables in a saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes before adding to the meat or serving on the side. Ensure the vegetables still have a crunch to them.
  • Serve the char siu beef and vegetables over cooked basmati rice. Garnish with sliced red chilli, sesame seeds and fresh coriander/cilantro.

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1456mg | Potassium: 684mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 800IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Recipe Published: July 11, 2023 Last Updated: July 12, 2023
Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hey, we are Molly & Exceede

Former operating room Nurse and self-taught home cook + IT Engineer passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. We create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
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  1. 5 stars
    This is a favourite in our house now. So delicious, full of flavour, and easy. Thanks Molly!

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