Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry

Chef Carol B

Here's a quick and tasty weeknight or date night dinner that can be pulled together quickly. Best of all, Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry can be made with ingredients found in any grocery store!
Photo byCarol Borchardt

A well-stocked pantry is how we pull off an authentic Asian-inspired meal when the craving hits like this Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry. Check out the list of basic Asian pantry ingredients in Chef Tips and Tricks below.

Besides being delicious, Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry is versatile, too! Try snow peas, broccoli or green beans instead of asparagus and add color with carrots and sweet bell peppers.
Photo byCarol Borchardt

How to Make Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this beef stir-fry recipe along with how to prep. See the FULL RECIPE AT FROM A CHEF'S KITCHEN FOR THE EXACT QUANTITIES. (Post includes affiliate links. If you purchase anything through the affiliated links, the author/website may earn a commission.)
Photo byCarol Borchardt
Photo byCarol Borchardt

Ingredient Notes:

  • Beef: I used the tail of a beef tenderloin. Other cuts you can use are flank steak, skirt steak or sirloin. I don't recommend round steak as it's not a very tender cut even when sliced across the grain.
  • Asparagus: The asparagus found late in the spring and summer is thicker than what you get earlier in the season which makes it perfect for this recipe. Thicker asparagus will hold up better to stir-frying and will stay crisp.
  • Sesame Oil: Look for dark or "toasted" sesame oil which is available in the international foods aisle. It's a seasoning rather than an oil to cook with. Regular sesame oil (light in color) is a cooking oil with a fairly high smoke point and is found in the cooking oils section.
  • Beef Broth / Stock: Because the other ingredients are high in sodium, a lower sodium beef broth or stock is always ideal.
  • Soy Sauce: I use a lower-sodium soy sauce.
  • Oyster Sauce: Oyster sauce is a combination of caramelized oyster juices (a byproduct of cooking oysters in water for a long period of time), salt, sugar and sometimes soy sauce then thickened with cornstarch. It adds an amazing "umami" element to the stir-fry.
  • Sesame Oil: Here, too, use dark or "toasted" sesame oil available in the international foods aisle rather than light, which is cooking oil.
  • Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is very mild. It's sometimes referred to as rice wine vinegar and is available seasoned and unseasoned. Seasoned rice vinegar has salt and sugar added. I always prefer to use unseasoned so I can adjust the salt/sodium and sugar levels myself.
  • Ginger: Whenever I purchase fresh ginger, I purchase more than what I will actually need. I peel it, coarsely chop it, then place it in a mini food processor with some water to create a purée. I use what I need for the dish I’m making, then freeze the remainder in small portions in either snack-size zip-top bags or mall plastic containers. Ginger sold in jars or tubes will work in a pinch. However, it often contains ingredients besides ginger.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: If you don't have it, substitute Sriracha.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients for the beef stir-fry.
  • MAKE AHEAD: Prep and refrigerate up to 24 hours. The marinade and stir-fry sauce can be combined and refrigerated up to 24 hours.
  • Toss the beef with soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours if using flank, skirt or sirloin.
  • Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before browning. Cold meat won't brown as nicely.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • Combine the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • Heat the oil and stir-fry the asparagus for 1-2 minutes or until it turns bright green.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • Add the scallion and give it a quick stir.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and push them to one side to make room for the beef.
  • Refresh the oil and brown the beef in batches being careful not to crowd the beef. If you crowd the beef, it steams rather than browns. Transfer the beef to the bowl, but don't place it over the vegetables. The heat from the beef will cause the vegetables to continue cooking.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • When all the beef has been browned, pour the sauce into the wok and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until the sauce begins to thicken.
Photo byCarol Borchardt
  • Transfer the beef and the vegetables to the sauce and heat through.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and serve!
Photo byCarol Borchardt

Deliciousness done! Serve the Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir-Fry with rice and garnish with sesame seeds. This would also be great tossed with or served over noodles.
Photo byCarol Borchardt

Tips and Tricks:

  • Whenever we are in the mood for a good steak, I buy a whole tenderloin on sale and have the butcher trim it. Whole beef tenderloin is a much better price per pound than buying individual steaks. From one whole tenderloin, we normally get three steak dinners for the two of us, the tail end for recipes like this and approximately two pounds of ground trimmings for the best burger ever!
  • Some of the basic ingredients to keep on hand so you can always pull off an Asian-inspired meal include:
    • Soy sauce or tamari
    • Toasted sesame oil
    • Rice vinegar
    • Oyster sauce
    • Sesame seeds
    • Fish sauce
    • Hoisin sauce
    • Black bean sauce
    • Mirin
    • Dry sherry, white wine or Shao-xing cooking wine
    • Chili garlic sauce
    • Sriracha
  • To make slicing the beef easier, place the cut in the freezer for about an hour. Then, thinly slice it against the grain as shown. Slicing against the grain will yield a more tender result.


See the FULL RECIPE AT FROM A CHEF'S KITCHEN FOR THE EXACT QUANTITIES. (Post includes affiliate links. If you purchase anything through the affiliated links, the author/website may earn a commission.)

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Personal chef in the Memphis area since 2002 providing a wide range of allergy and diet-specific cuisine. Newspaper contributor/food columnist for Commercial Appeal from 2011 to 2017. Food blogger at From A Chef's Kitchen from 2014 to present.

Memphis, TN

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