This Kung Pao Beef recipe has been simplified to make it perfectly for a weeknight dinner! Tender beef with peppers in a sweet and spicy sauce.
I've talked about it before, but we really don't have great Chinese restaurants in Kansas City. My tiny hometown of 40,000 had not one, but TWO authentic Chinese restaurants with incredible, made from scratch dishes. Here in Kansas City, it's mostly dominated by the type of Chinese restaurants that are either buffets, or serve only deep fried meats with packaged sauces. Because of this, I've started making Chinese food at home when I have a craving! I love to make homemade General's Chicken and this simplified Kung Pao Beef for dinner!
For this Kung Pao Beef recipe, I took an authentic recipe and I did my best to simplify both the steps and the ingredients list. Chinese dishes are notorious for having long ingredient lists full of items that you may not have on hand. I made substitutions where I could, and altogether this came out to be an EXCELLENT dish for taste, and saved me about 15 minutes over the authentic recipe!
I think that your family will love this Kung Pao Beef recipe for dinner. You can serve it by itself, with rice, with lo mein noodles tossed with a bit of soy sauce and brown sugar, or with vegetables!
Two Tips for Making Kung Pao Beef at Home:
- The recipe starts with the process for "velveting" the beef, which is a super quick marinade and coating process. You can skip this and go straight to cooking the beef in the pan. But, I recommend that you don't. Why? This process quickly tenderizes the beef, and the corn starch lightly coats it. This light coating will help lock and seal in moisture during the cooking process.
- You will need to remove the beef from the pan and let it rest while the vegetables cook. During this time, the beef will continue to cook, and there will be juice. DRAIN that juice off before you re-add the beef to your skillet! If you forget to do this, the dish will still taste good, BUT you will have a looser sauce and a heavier beef flavor (like you added beef stock) than a Kung Pao flavor.
Substitutions for Cooking Sherry
One item that you may not have on hand is cooking sherry. I actually used cooking sherry in this recipe in substitution for several different types of Chinese rice wines and vinegars, to simply things! But, there are also some everyday substitutions for cooking sherry that you can try:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Dry White Wine