Sesame Beef With Snow Peas

Sesame Beef With Snow Peas is my version of a popular Chinese dish but it is much better than what you can get from your neighborhood takeout. Flavorful strips of sirloin steak, tender-crisp snow peas and onions are cooked in a delicious garlic ginger sauce. This recipe is so tasty that I’ve even prepared it for dinner guests. If you are thinking of ordering Chinese takeout for an evening meal, why not try making this stir fry dish yourself. Think about it, do you really want a container of lukewarm beef that’s not very tender along with some limp veggies? Covered in a thick brown sauce, your takeout meal  will probably be  lacking in flavor unless it is topped with lots of little packets of soy sauce. Instead, why not shop for a few easy to find ingredients and prepare a tasty dinner that will make everyone at your table happy.

Stir Fried Beef With Snow Peas In A Garlic Ginger Sauce
Stir Fried Sesame Beef With Snow Peas In A Garlic Ginger Sauce

I’ve written this recipe in easy to follow steps as the recipe comes together very quickly. It is good to have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start. If you don’t have a wok, please don’t worry as I cook my stir fry dishes in a large skillet. It has more surface area that comes in contact with the flame and I think it works great.

Sesame Beef With Snow Peas In A Garlic Ginger Sauce

Recipe serves four generously, adjust accordingly

  • 1 lb. of sirloin or steak of your choice, sliced 1/4 inch thick against the grain into bite size strips (you can buy pre sliced or slightly freeze the steak for easier cutting)
  • 6 Tbsp. peanut or canola oil
  • 2 onions, cut into quarters and then cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 4 Tbsp. minced garlic, about 4 or 5 cloves
  • 2 c. snow peas, cut in half on the diagonal
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Marinade (For tenderizing)

  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil


  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • 4 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. chili sauce with garlic 
  • 4 Tbsp. Shaoxing Chinese rice wine, sherry or white wine
  • 3 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Marinate the beef by sprinkling with the corn starch and stir to coat. Add the pepper and sesame oil, stir and let marinate at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. (This Chinese technique helps to tenderize the meat).

In the meantime, prepare the sauce by dissolving 1 tsp. corn starch in the water then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Mix well and taste for flavor, if necessary adjust to your own taste and then set aside until ready to cook.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet until very hot. Cook, not stirring the beef, in batches so that the meat browns and doesn’t steam, about 30 seconds on each side. As each batch is finished, remove to a paper towel to drain.

Add the onions to the skillet and cook until translucent, then add the ginger, garlic and snow peas and cook until the peas are just starting to get tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out any remaining oil and add the sauce to the skillet. Cook until it thickens slightly. Add the meat back to the pan, stirring until just heated through. Then add the vegetables, sprinkle with the sesame seeds and stir until heated through. Remove the stir fry to a large platter and serve.

A Large Platter Of Sesame Beef With Snow Peas Ready To Serve Dinner Guests
A Large Platter Of Sesame Beef With Snow Peas Ready To Serve Dinner Guests


Sesame Beef With Snow Peas, Better Than Takeout
Sesame Beef With Snow Peas, Better Than Takeout

I’ve made sesame beef with snow peas for weeknight meals for my husband and I and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I also prepared this Chinese dish when we had friends over for dinner. I served the sesame beef with chicken spring rolls, fried rice and refreshing watermelon cubes for dessert. Everyone enjoyed the meal and I think you would as well. I believe you will agree that it is better than your neighborhood Chinese takeout.


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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

186 thoughts on “Sesame Beef With Snow Peas

  1. This is definitely better than the neighbourhood Chinese takeout. I happen to have sliced beef in the freezer, onion in storage no snow peas but have carrots and sunchoke in storage also that I will use as substitute, to add something green I will harvest some tender walking onion greens, my dinner is set, thanks for the idea.

  2. Without even tasting this dish, I am sure it is better than take-out. I like making chinese food at home and now I have a recipe to add to my collection. Your recipe looks delicious.

  3. I love Chinese food, and actually took some cooking lessons, when I was younger, from a woman who had immigrated from China. Those recipes are long missing, but oh not the memories of the food. I look forward to cooking this one and thanks for sharing Karen!

    1. Hi Donna, I bet those cooking lessons were wonderful. I’m glad I could furnish you with a recipe and I hope you like it as much as we have.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment about the photo Rosemary. Our friends waited patiently before we ate the sesame beef so that I could get photos of the meal for this post. True friends and very understanding. 😀

  4. Karen, you are so right about preparing your own food. You control the quality of the ingredients , omit the ingredients you don’t like and can add your own flavor. I love Chinese food and this dish looks great. I will make it when I return from Germany. Have a great weekend,

    1. Hi Gerlinde, There really is no comparison is there. You can prepare this dish just to your own taste and it is nice and fresh. Have a great time in Germany, I’m looking forward to when we go back again in the fall.

  5. This sounds delicious! The sauce looks especially tasty. Next time I am craving Chinese takeout (which will be very soon, now that I have seen this post), I will definitely keep this in mind!!

  6. Oh, this looks so amazing and delicious. I’ve saved the recipe for when my kitchen is done, and I can once again invite friends around for a meal. Thanks, Karen. Have a great weekend. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment and wish, Sylvia. I know that you are looking forward to when all your construction is over. I hope you are having a nice weekend as well.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment, Fatima. I’m glad you like the looks of this meal. I think homemade is perfect as you definitely can control the ingredients and their quality.

  7. Looks (and smells, I imagine) wonderful! Easy for me to make without garlic – and something I think we will try this weekend!

      1. It was, as I suspected, an amazing dish! It is one we both agreed will be made often in our household! As the steaks were “buy one, get one free,” Mark asked if we could have it tonight as well. 🙂 I posted a shot of it on your FB page – sorry it was a poor cell phone shot, but wanted you to see how it came out. Happy Sunday!

      2. So happy to know you enjoyed the recipe, David. I appreciate your taking the time to photograph your dish and send it my way, thank you!

  8. I do have a wok, but I almost always use a big skillet too. My stove just doesn’t get hot enough to use a wok effectively. Anyway, love this dish! And you’re right, it doesn’t travel well. This is a dish that needs to be eaten right after it’s been prepared. Unless you like limp food, that is. 🙂 Good stuff — thanks.

    1. Hi John, I’m glad to know that you agree with me about using a skillet compared to a wok for stir fries. Woks are terrific if you are one of the lucky ones to have a special burner for them on your stove but most of us don’t. Thank you for your nice compliment about my post.

    1. Thank you very much Truc Vert for your visit and nice compliment. Takeout food usually is a big disappointment quality wise. I’m glad you agree that it is a lot better to prepare this dish and others like it at home.

      1. Takeout is definitely on a downward slide in England. It seems to me that most ethnic restaurants have changed their recipes to be like the flavours of supermarket ready meals. I’m so glad I can cook!

  9. Yummy, Karen! Timely post, I have been wanting something Chinese for a month or so…think I will make this over the weekend. Thanks!
    Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Marigene, I’m so happy that my post was timely…I do hope you will enjoy the sesame beef. Thank you for your nice compliment and wish. I hope you are having a nice weekend as well. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Boleyn. Making this dish yourself definitely guarantees you a much better tasting meal than ordering takeout…at least in my humble opinion.

    1. Thank you Deb, I’m happy that you enjoyed my post and I appreciate your lovely compliment. I hope I will encourage those who have been ordering takeout to try preparing dishes like this at home.

    1. Hi Jo, I’m glad that you like the recipe and that it has given you some inspiration about what you might want for supper. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  10. This sounds very delicious, recipe noted for when I can find the peas in our shops! Have a great weekend Diane

    1. I appreciate your nice compliment and wish Diane. With spring on our doorsteps, fresh peas should be at the markets soon. I hope you will enjoy the sesame beef.

    1. Hi Kelli, My best advice to you is to prep everything before you ever think of turning on your stove when cooking an Asian meal. Once you have that done, the cooking really is easy and fast. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you for your compliment.

  11. *smile* Since my nearest ‘takeout’ is over 40 kms away it definitely is not a contender when meals are thought of 🙂 ! Eat Asian ‘fusion’ [ie ‘my style’ impromptu!] about 4-5 times a week and your version is one of the favourites. We make it almost alike except I often use leeks instead of onions, ad hoc exchange snow peas with sugar snaps and usually add some healthy, crunchy red capsicums to the pan: and cooking mostly for self, I also don’t bother with the big wok but use a smaller deep-sided pan . . . todays’ lunch similar but done with lamb 🙂 ! Lovely, isn’t it!! Oh, oft use Asian noodles instead of rice: those lovely buckwheat ones . . .

    1. Thank you for your compliment Eha, I’m glad you like my version of the sesame beef. I agree with you, dishes like this can be prepared with what you have or like. People are under the impression that you need a wok to prepare a stir fry at home although some of us don’t think it is necessary and I appreciate your input. 🙂

    1. Hi Lorraine, I know I would enjoy your mother’s dish. Knowing how well you cook, I’m sure your entire family serves up good food. 🙂

  12. super-yummy… any leftovers, please?… 😉 can’t wait to return to Japan for the 4th time… 🙂
    * * *
    have a SSS = super sunny Sunday and a formidable week! ❤

    1. Hi Mél@nie, There was more than plenty for the four of us that night, wish I could have sent you some of the leftovers. Thank you for your compliment and wish.

    1. Thank you for your compliment, Andrea. Sesame beef does work well for a family meal and has lots of possibilities for using different fresh vegetables in it according to the season.

  13. Way better than take out as your recipe has no MSG. Quick easy and delicious is why we eat stir fry Asian dishes so often..and when you are in Rome… LOL. Wishing you a super weekend!

    1. Hi Bobbie, I’m glad you agree and you are right, no MSG in it like a lot of restaurants cook with. Oh yes, living in Hong Kong you certainly have the most amazing fresh ingredients for creating Asian dishes. I appreciate your nice compliment and wish, thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi Eva, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and recipe, thank you. I love the color and crispness that snow peas give to this dish and many others…happy that you like them too.

  14. Much better than take out and it wouldn’t gve me the headache either! This is one our whole family would enjoy. I bet the steak is fabulous!!

    1. Hi Kristy, It appears that Chinese takeout bothers several of my readers…giving them headaches. The steak really was good, thank you for your compliment.

  15. A much healthier version than the take-out version. No doubt I would really enjoy this dish-especially on a Friday night after the work week is over.

    1. Hi Velva, This meal really is healthier than what you’d probably get from takeout. The nice thing is that it is also very adaptable.

    1. Hi Sam, Our tastes are very similar so it doesn’t surprise me that you make something similar. 🙂 If you prepare my version, I hope you and Meakin will enjoy it. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  16. Great timing—I have a flank steak defrosting in the fridge. We were going to grill, but the forecast is iffy. I know I’d love this stir fry!

    1. Hi Liz, It does sound like my timing was good, flank steak is perfect for this dish if you ended up having to cook indoors because of the rain. I’m happy to know you like the recipe, thank you.

    1. Hi Judy, I totally agree with you…this combination is such a great flavor enhancer in so many dishes. I’m glad you like the recipe and appreciate the pin, thank you very much!

    1. Hi Larry, I do think you and Bev would enjoy this meal. I know our dinner guests really liked it…even after we made them wait to serve it until photos were taken. 😀

  17. Hi Karen

    It’s so bizarre that Chinese food was the first real exotic food I had as a child. I still love it, but it’s difficult to find a good one. I’ve never met a match for my egg fried rice yet.

    Anyway, what to have with my egg fried rice is always quite tricky to decide. A perfect dish here is now waiting for me.

    1. Hi David, I feel flattered that you think my sesame beef would be a good accompaniment to your egg fried rice…thank you for the compliment.

  18. Oh man, your first photo looks so appetizing! It’s at the exact right angle for scooping straight into my mouth, and now I’m famished! Sounds delicious too – intrigued by the step of marinating in the cornstarch first (I usually toss the cornstarch into the actual sauce). Will definitely give this a go.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comment Saskia, it gave me a smile. 🙂 I’ve been using the method of letting the protein sit covered in the cornstarch before cooking for some time now and think it works well. I usually still add a little bit of cornstarch to the sauce if I’ve got a lot of liquid. I hope you will like the results.

    1. Thank you Allie and Chris, for your nice compliment. I would suggest either arrowroot or flour as a substitute for the cornstarch. If you decide to use flour, I like Wondra flour which works especially well in sauces.

  19. Karen,

    This looks and sounds outstanding! I’ve never seen an Asian recipe that I thought I could tackle until this. As I read through the recipe I was ticking off the ingredients and I knew I had everything except the oyster sauce. Since it call for 4 tablespoons I can see its essential. Still, I’ve never used it and the sound of it is a bit unappealing. Can you recommend a substitution or do you think I should just get brave and soldier on? Ha! I’ve Pinned this. Thank you.


    1. I appreciate your kind words, Jane. I try to share recipes that I think anyone would have an easy time preparing at home…I’m sure you would have no problem. If you think you might not care for oyster sauce, use Hoisin sauce in its place…it has the same saltiness but is sweet as well and would work just fine with the beef. Thank you for the pin, that is very nice of you. 🙂

  20. I love Chinese food. This sesame beef with snow peas looks and sounds delicious. You really don’t need take out when you can make dishes like this at home.

    1. Hi Dawn, I’m glad to know that you like the looks of this dish, it did turn out to be a hit at our dinner party. You are right, stir fry is quick and easy, no need for takeout as far as I’m concerned.

    1. I appreciate your lovely compliment, Fae. I’m happy to know that you enjoy the photos on my blog, thank you. With this post, I was especially grateful that our friends didn’t mind waiting a few minutes while photos were taken of this meal before it went to the table. 😀

    1. Thank you Tanya, I’m glad you like the looks of the dish. Yes, I think Chinese is popular with all my readers…perhaps because stir fries are something we can all easily do at home. 🙂

  21. Karen, I remember receiving a wok for a wedding present (they were very popular in 1980!) and we carted it around with us for so long, but I could never really get the technique. We finally donated it, and I hope someone is making good use of use somewhere. Now I use a large skillet too! This recipe looks and sounds delicious and so easy. I’m so interested in your tenderizer idea. I cannot eat msg as it seems to be one of my migraine triggers. I am definitely going to try this method! Thanks for the recipe. Linda

    1. Hi Linda, I’m glad that you agree with me about a wok not being necessary for a stir fry. Mine sits in a cabinet high above my refrigerator and looks like new. 😀 I’m glad that you like the recipe and I hope you enjoy the meal as much as we did. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  22. This looks absolutely wonderful, and easy to make. I’ve also found that take-out food often is not that good by the time I get it home. I need to give this a try.

    1. Thank you for your lovely compliment Sheryl, I do try to share recipes that I think are easy to prepare. I hope you will enjoy the sesame beef if you get a chance to make it.

  23. Happy Spring, Karen!!!
    I’ve been craving a good dish of Chinese food for weeks now. You think I would just whip up my own but nooooooo, too lazy I suppose:)

    This dish not only looks easy and probably healthier than takeout. I should just get off my butt and give it a try:)

    Thanks so much for sharing, Karen…

    1. Thank you for your wish Louise, spring is such a lovely season. Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to cook, I think we all feel like that from time to time. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. 😀

    1. Thank you for your compliment, Mimi. If I lived near a wonderful Chinatown, I might experiment with takeout but there is still the problem of a lukewarm meal. If you reheat it, then you can have the problem of overcooked ingredients. Yes…I think we are on the right track, just make Chinese at home. 🙂

  24. Hi Karen, Many times I will order this for dinner when we go out, such a beautiful dish. Love what you served this with when you had guests, something my whole family will enjoy.

  25. Hi Cheri, I agree about this being a pretty dish that is very much full of flavor. My guests enjoyed the meal, I hope yours does as well if you give the recipe a try. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Hi Donna, This is a fun dish to share with friends as most everyone enjoys Chinese food. I bet your husband enjoyed his meal at the restaurant…I do think it is a good dish to try.

    1. Hi Judi, I’m glad that you enjoy sesame beef, it really is a nice dish. I do think the onions are a nice compliment to the beef, thank you.

    1. Thank you Susan, I’m happy to know that you like the recipe. I’m glad you agree that a stir fry is much better when we make it ourselves.

  26. I’m back in Los Angeles from Nicaragua and heading to you Florida turf tomorrow. I’m spending my one morning home to catch up on my favorite blogs. I’m going to consider this sesame beef as the best sort of take out and order up a batch for my journey. GREG

    1. Hi Greg, It sure sounds like you are covering a lot of territory lately. We’ve got friends heading to Florida too…wish the weather was going to be better. Hope you were able to order a good version of the recipe before you headed out.

  27. It has to be at least 40 years since I last had Chinese takeout, I kid you not! We had it a few times growing up but then my Dad had heart problems and because of the msg we didn’t get it anymore. But soggy, lukewarm and chewy perfectly describes my memory of it. I do make Chinese-style dishes from time to time and your version looks like a simple, easy and quick dinner to cook up and that you’ve even served it to guests, considering your high standards, this dish would make a lovely meal next time my nephew comes over.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Eva. This recipe really is easy but very tasty. I hope your nephew enjoys it as much as our guests did.

    1. Hi MJ, Now that spring has arrived, we’ve got lots of tender sweet veggies arriving in the markets. The snow peas do make a nice addition to the recipe for their taste, texture and color. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  28. It looks and sounds delicious, Karen. I love snow peas, and I find it odd that my family aren’t huge fans! Always good to have a good go-to recipe for “Chinese food”, thanks!

    1. Hi Dana, I appreciate your nice compliment. Is it just snow peas or does your family not care for all peas as they would be something nice to grow in your garden. If you want to prepare the recipe, broccoli would be a good alternative.

  29. You can serve me anything with sesame. Even if my meat intake has been decreasing a lot lately, I know I would really enjoy it. I would also serve this for a dinner party.

  30. Quick, intereting recipes for meals that can be whipped up on a school night are always good to have around – especially when they can be made from non-processed ingredients.

  31. This looks and sounds delicious, Karen! I haven’t had Chinese takeout in years so this is a way to fill that void. I love stir-fries, thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hi Pam, I’m happy to know that you like the recipe. This stir fry dish is way better than any Chinese takeout that I’ve ever had. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  32. Eating at your house would be such a pleasure as your dishes are so beautifully presented to say nothing about how tasty they are. I’ve tried a number of your recipes and am never disappointed

    1. Hi Linda, I don’t know what happened to my reply to you…it has somehow disappeared. I’m always happy when people let me know that they have tried my recipes and you are always so kind to let me know you enjoyed one of my dishes. Maybe one of these days, you and Pete will head to Florida and I’ll cook for the two of you.

      1. I am so sorry we didn’t have more opportunity to get together. I think it would have been a good friendship.

    1. Hi Deb, Thank you so much for your lovely thoughts, we are loving our new home. Life has been hectic as my husband had a serious healthy condition but thankfully is on the mend. I’m glad you like the beef and snow peas, it was a good meal. I don’t know what happened to my original reply, it just disappeared.

    1. Hi Jasline, I tend to agree with you. I’m happy to know that you like the looks of the beef and snow peas, thank you. I’m sorry but it appears that a lot of my replies have disappeared…I appreciate your compliment.

    1. Hi Amy, I think you are right, when we cook at home we can definitely control the amount of salt in food. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m happy to know that you like the recipe.

  33. I love Asian food and I specially love beef and broccoli dish. Your recipe sounds easy to follow and prepare. Thanks Karen for sharing.

    1. Hi Kiran, I’m sorry to be responding so late to your comment, I just recovered it from my spam file. Thank you for your nice compliment and it is so nice to here from you.

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