Spicy Chinese Stir Fry with Beef & Cauliflower

Every Sunday night my first year teaching English in China, I invited my students over to teach me how to cook home-style Chinese food. This was an easy and popular dish.



½ t. Chinese 5 spice 

1 t. salt (or more–my students used 3 t.!)

*1/8-¼ t. red pepper flakes

1/3 c. vegetable oil

2 t. Superior dark soy sauce (thicker than regular soy sauce)

6 cloves of garlic, diced

½ head cauliflower, cut in small pieces

¼ lb. steak, thinly sliced, about 1 in. pieces

1 in. fresh ginger, diced (remove skin)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

*4-5 Anaheim peppers (or any kind according to how much spice you like), sliced (remove seeds carefully—don’t use your fingernails!)

You can also add dried red chili peppers that don’t add a ton of spice, but look pretty.

Prepare white rice separately.

(My students often added this chicken bouillon to the dishes, but it contains MSG, which Americans usually avoid—it really enhances the flavors, though!)

(*omit or reduce if you don’t like spicy food!)


  1. Cook rice according to directions (usually takes 20-30 minutes). 
  2. Prepare all ingredients in advance because once you begin, you’ll need to continue stirring. Cut meat, then marinate a few minutes in five spice, red pepper flakes, and soy sauce
  3. Heat oil at high heat in a wok or cast iron pan (drop in a small piece of garlic—if it sizzles, it’s ready). Add beef, cook for a minute, then add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Continue stirring.
  4. Add cauliflower, salt, and peppers to the pan. Continue stirring with a spatula and add hot water if getting too dry or sticking to pan. Cook about 7 minutes at medium-to-high heat. Add more salt according to taste.
  5. Serve with white rice on the side.

Pull out your chopsticks and enjoy! ☺