Hye Thyme Cafe: Spicy Beef with Broccoli

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Spicy Beef with Broccoli

Served over a bed of brown rice

I found a good deal on a few packages of stew meat at the market, so that's what I used here, but you could certainly use another cut of beef cut into chunks, or even sliced steak. If you're going to slice steak and don't have a super sharp knife, you might want to freeze it for a few minutes to make the slicing easier.

2 lb stew beef
1 t baking soda
1 small onion, sliced
1 T sesame oil
1 t crushed garlic (I used jarred minced garlic with hot red peppers)
1 t black pepper
1/4 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 crown broccoli, florets separated
1 c beef broth
1 heaping T corn starch
1 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 t Gravy Master
1 T toasted sesame seeds
1 T fresh snipped chives (optional)

If you are using stew meat, and there are any extremely large pieces, go ahead and start by cutting those in half, then sprinkle the baking soda over the beef and rub it in to get as even a coat as possible.  

First rub with baking soda to aid in tenderizing
Add the onions, sesame oil, garlic, black pepper, salt, crushed red pepper, and soy sauce to the beef, tossing to coat, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to marinate.

About 20" or so before you're ready to start cooking, pull the meat out of the fridge so you're not adding it to a hot pan while it's cold - you don't want it to tighten up and get tough.

Your meat already has a coating of sesame oil, but depending on the pan you will be using, you might want to first add a splash of oil or cooking spray. The pan I was using is notorious for sticking, so I gave it a shot of PAM first.

Over med-high, transfer the beef and onions to the pan and cook until well browned and almost cooked through. If you question how done it is, slice into one of the biggest pieces to see what's going on in the middle.

It will start to brown, then some liquid will come out and you will think you're just steaming the meat, but give it another minute or for that to evaporate and the browning will start again.

Add beef and onion mixture to pan over med heat
Cook until beef is nicely browned and almost cooked through

If necessary, deglaze the pan with a splash of beef broth, then add the broccoli to the pan, stirring it into the beef mixture to pick up some of that garlic and onion flavor.

Add the broccoli, tossing to coat

While the broccoli is heating up, stir the corn starch into your beef broth to create a slurry, then stir in the additional soy sauce and Gravy Master. The Gravy Master adds a richness and deep color to the gravy.

Pour the gravy mixture over the beef and bring up to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking/burning. The mixture will thicken quickly for you. Remove from heat and pop a cover on the pan to rest for a few minutes. This will give the beef a chance to finish cooking through and the broccoli to come out crisp-tender. If you prefer your broccoli to be very soft, rather than adding it to the pan, you could steam it separately to your desired texture, then add it at the very end.

Pour in the gravy mix and bring to a boil to thicken

While that's finishing off, in a small dry pan, over medium heat, lightly toast your sesame seeds. Make sure to remove them from the pan as soon as they start to darken, or they will continue cooking and burn.

Serve over hot cooked rice and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and chives, if using. I served mine over brown rice, and because there was more than a cup of beef broth in the container I opened for the beef, I used the rest of the broth to replace some of the water I would be cooking the rice in.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds

Sprinkle with chives if using for garnish

You know me well enough by now to know that everyone in my family likes things on the spicy/hot side, so I did use the jarred minced garlic with hot red peppers in addition to the crushed red pepper flakes. As much as I liked the dish, I'm thinking a sweet element might also be nice next time, maybe a splash of pineapple juice added to the gravy.


  1. Mmmmmmm... Every time I see pics from your blog in my Bloglovin' feed, I swear I gain 30 lbs. :) Happy 4th of July!


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