Ginger Beef

By / Food / March 13th, 2024 / Like

Reprinted with permission from Kung Food: Chinese American Recipes from a Third-Culture Kitchenby Jon Kung © 2023. Photographs © 2023 by Johnny Miller. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

A Chinese Canadian classic, beefy flank steak is marinated with ginger and white pepper for an hour, coated in a light batter, and fried until crispy, then tossed with a sweet-and-salty glaze flavored with garlic and fresh ginger. It’s almost like a brighter warming variation of Mongolian Beef, familiar but distinctly different.

Serves 4


Steak and marinade

  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 pound flank steak or boneless beef short ribs, cut against the grain into thin, pinkie-size strips


  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ⅔ cup lightly packed light brown sugar


  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons Five-Spice Powder or use store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs

To finish

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 dried Szechuan chilies or other hot red chilies, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish


Marinate the steak: In a medium bowl, mix together the ginger, light soy sauce, and white pepper. Add the steak, toss to coat, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Batter and cook the steak: Fill a wok or Dutch oven with oil to a depth of at least 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350°F. Have a wire rack or paper towel–lined baking sheet nearby.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the flour, the potato starch, five-spice, white pepper, salt, eggs, and 1 cup cold water. Place the remaining 1 cup flour on a large plate.

Remove the beef from the marinade. Working in batches, dredge it in the plain flour (this will make it easier for the batter to stick to the beef). Dip the beef in the batter to coat, letting any excess fall back into the bowl, then add it to the hot oil (do not overcrowd the pot). Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, checking the temperature of the oil often to make sure it stays between 350° and 375°F. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer the fried beef to the rack or paper towels, then repeat with the remaining beef.

Finish the dish: In a clean wok or large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, dried chilies, and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, then add the beef and toss to coat. Garnish with the scallions and serve over rice.

photo credit: Johnny Miller

JON KUNG is the popular Chinese American chef, content creator and podcast host, who has amassed an online following of more than 2 million people for his unique style of third culture cooking, blending cultural traditions, flavors and ingredients that are meaningful and personal to him. After graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and creative writing and earning a law degree from University of Detroit Mercy, Jon changed career paths to focus on cooking. He worked in some of the top Detroit kitchens before launching his own successful pop-up Kung Food Market Studio. When the pandemic forced him to shut down his pop-up, he turned to social media, where he created instructional yet entertaining cooking videos exploring the vast Chinese diaspora and applying culinary techniques of traditional Chinese cooking (stir-frying, braising, creating broths, using a cleaver) onto global flavors and ingredients. In addition to developing recipes, Jon hosts the podcast 1 For The Table with his close friend, legendary makeup mogul and extraordinary drag queen Kim Chi. Kung Food: Chinese American Recipes from a Third Culture Kitchenis Jon’s debut cookbook. 


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