Experience a flavor explosion with this Easy Chinese Pepper Steak. With a few small changes, it’s easy to make this classic take out dish into a keto friendly meal the whole family will love! Only 3.4g net carbs per serving.
You simply can’t beat Asian-style cooking for easy keto dinners. Stir fry is the original one-pan meal, quickly sautéing veggies and protein together to tender perfection.
And while many conventional Chinese dishes have added sugar and starch, it’s surprisingly easy to make them without. This low carb Chinese Pepper Steak has all the flavor and tenderness of the classic, with a mere fraction of the carbs.
My whole family loves it. I thought there would be some leftovers for me to enjoy the next day but they devoured it completely. I might double the recipe next time!
Why you will love it
I have some very popular Asian-inspired recipe on this site, such as Keto Mongolian Beef and Easy Chicken Yakitori. But this time, I did a little added research and settled on a slightly different approach.
I used a technique called velveting, whereby you toss the meat with baking soda to tenderize it prior to cooking. This is a common step in many traditional Chinese recipes. I was a little leery of the flavor coming through but it rinsed away easily.
And the results were absolutely worth it. Yes, it’s an additional step but it’s not that much more effort, and it makes the keto pepper steak truly tender. So it’s just as good as what you might get for takeout, but with only 3.4g net carbs per serving.
Ingredients you need
- Steak: I recommend using flank steak or top sirloin, sliced thinly against the grain.
- Baking soda: Tossing the steak with baking soda for 15 minutes or so helps tenderize it prior to stir frying. It’s a process known as “velveting” and it really works!
- Peppers: It wouldn’t be pepper steak without the peppers! I used one red and one green pepper for eye-catching color.
- Onion: Onions are surprising high in carbs so I use only ¼ of a large onion here. Sliced thinly, it still provides plenty of flavor in this recipe.
- Tamari: Tamari is a great choice for Asian inspired keto dinners. It’s a more flavorful and entirely gluten-free kind of soy sauce. And it has more flavor and fewer carbs than things like coconut aminos.
- Chili garlic sauce: You can find this spicy condiment in the International Foods aisle of most grocery stores. Chili Garlic Sauce has zero carbs and is not the same as sweet chili sauce, so make sure you read the labels. You can also use Sriracha. It’s not quite as flavorful and does have a few carbs but it adds only 0.75g per serving.
- Sesame oil: I love to use toasted sesame oil in my keto stir fry sauces, as it adds a unique and delicious flavor.
- Glucomannan: I prefer glucomannan over xanthan gum for thickening the sauce.
- Kitchen staples: Broth, cooking oil (avocado, olive, or coconut), garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Step by Step Directions
1. Make the sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
2. Tenderize the beef: In a large bowl, toss the steak slices with the baking soda to coat. Let stand 15 minutes to tenderize, then rinse thoroughly with water. Let drain and pat dry.
3. Stir fry the beef: In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add slices of meat in a single layer and sear quickly, about 1 minute on each side (depending on how thinly you sliced it). Remove to a plate and repeat with more oil and more meat until all the meat has been cooked to your liking.
4. Stir fry the veggies: Add the vegetables to the pan and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until becoming tender.
5. Put it together: Add the meat and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Stir in the sauce and cook until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and more chili garlic sauce if you like!). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Even with velveting, you still want to make sure to slice the steak very thinly. This is easiest to do when the steak is partially frozen. It shouldn’t be rock solid, but it shouldn’t give completely as you try to slice it.
Sear the steak in batches. This allows for more even cooking and you can make sure each piece cooks through perfectly. Again, this takes a but more time but makes a world of difference to the texture and flavor.
If your sauce is thin after you have cooked it for a bit, push all of the meat and vegetables to one side of the pan. Whisk another quarter teaspoon of glucomannan or xanthan gum into the sauce. It should thicken up quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Flank steak, top sirloin, and top round steak are great choices for this pepper steak stir fry. They are relatively inexpensive and slice nicely against the grain for thin slices.
You can tenderize beef with cornstarch or baking soda. For keto pepper steak, velveting the meat with baking soda is a lower carb option. Toss it with the sliced steak with baking soda and let sit 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly before cooking.
Traditional pepper steak recipes often contain sugar and cornstarch and can have anywhere from 15 to 30 grams of carbs per serving. This Keto Pepper Steak recipe has only 4.7g of carbs and 1.3g of dietary fiber.
More Asian Inspired Keto Recipes
Chinese Pepper Steak Recipe
- ¼ cup beef broth
- ¼ cup tamari
- 1 ½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon glucomannan or ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 lb steak flank or top sirloin, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 to 3 tablespoon avocado oil
- ¼ large onion thinly sliced
- 1 large red pepper thinly sliced
- 1 large green pepper thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
Pepper Steak Stir Fry
- In a large bowl, toss the steak slices with the baking soda to coat. Let stand 15 minutes to tenderize, then rinse thoroughly with water. Let drain and pat dry.
- In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add slices of meat in a single layer and sear quickly, about 1 minute on each side (depending on how thinly you sliced it).
- Remove to a plate and repeat with more oil and more meat until all the meat has been cooked to your liking.
- Add the vegetables to the pan and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until becoming tender. Add the meat and any accumulated juices back into the pan.
- Stir in the sauce and cook until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and more chili garlic sauce if you like!). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Steve and Deb Williams says
Easy, quick and SOOOO delicious! Thanks so much for all your fantabulous recipes, advice, and ideas….we are loyal fans!
I’ve tried many low carb Chinese recipes and none of them were right. They didn’t satisfy the craving for Chinese takeout. This is the first one I’ve LOVED! Thank you for another wonderful recipe!
So great to hear!
The stir fry sauce is restaurant worthy, but without the extra carbs.
Excellent recipe. Versatile because you can change your veggies and adjust cooking time as needed. Sauce is superb! As an experienced Chinese Stir-Fry cook, I would only add that your pan or wok should be very hot when you cook the meat. The Chinese perfected the velveting technique for all meats/poultry. Sometimes egg whites are used instead of baking powder.
Thanks, Barbara! Next time I may try the egg whites. I love experimenting!
PLEASE CORRECT: baking SODA, not baking POWDER is used.!!!!
I can’t correct it but it’s okay. From the post itself and the recipe, I think people will understand! 🙂