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Monday, June 11, 2012

Taiwanese Black Pepper Steak Recipe

Black Pepper Steak over noodles with fried eggs is a popular dish all over Taiwan.  On nearly every corner, you'll see a black pepper steak shop.  The most popular chain of them is called "My House Steak" translated from wǒ jiā niúpái.  The jiā in the word can be construed as my house or my family's.  Either way, this is a pretty tasty dish.  I order it often at the China Gourmet in Houston, and I'm not aware of any place in Austin that serves this dish.  So I make it at home. 

Traditionally, it is served on top of noodles, with some veggies like bok choy, and a fried egg on a cast iron skillet like a fajita skillet.  Most places serve it with the popular flat noodles, though I use whole wheat spaghetti at home.  I also don't really like bok choy so I opt to leave it out.  The traditional version also does not have onions or spice, and you're free to alter it as you like.  You could probably also add some beer into this or have this with a beer, but I digress. 

  • 1-2 large onions (sliced or diced)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • Steak, any kind though beef and chicken are popular.  Traditionally, the cut of meat is an inexpensive one.  I've used ribeyes, sirloin, and skirt steaks. You'll need one per person.  This recipe is enough for six servings. 
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 tablespoon Siracchi Sauce or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
  • Drizzle of Sesame oil
  • fresh black pepper, as much as you like
  • Egg (one egg per person)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • Cornstarch slurry - 1/4 cup of cold water mixed with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 lb noodles
1. In a large pot, heat water to a boil for the noodles.  You might be tempted to salt the water at this, though the sauce is pretty salty already.  Move onto the next steps as the water heats. 

2. In hot skillet, sear the protein on both sides.  Cook the steaks to your liking.  I typically like medium rare.  Remove from the heat and reserve the liquid for flavoring the sauce. Some people might also marinate the steaks in soy sauce and sherry vinegar for several hours prior to cooking.  However, I didn't think it makes a big difference given that this dish is heavily sauced anyways. 

3. In the same skillet (preferably with the liquid retained), add the chopped garlic.  Fry until aromatic and nutty.  It will generally take 60 -90 seconds on high heat.  Add the onions to the skillet and cook on medium until transparent.  The water for the noodles should be boiling by now.  Add the noodles to the pot.  You might set a timer for 7-10 minutes depending on how al dente you like the sauce. 

4. Add the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, Siracchi Sauce, sherry vinegar, and a drizzle of sesame oil into the skillet with the onions.  Add 2.5 cups of water to the skillet to cook the sauce.  Add fresh crack black pepper to your liking.  I tend to like a large amount of black pepper.  Adjust the sauce as needed.  Add the cornstarch slurry once the sauce is to your liking.  Allow it to come to a boil to achieve the full thickening.  It should be a thick sauce that clings to noodles.  Add the steaks back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over to smoother in the flavor.  Remove the skillet from the heat. 

5. Heat a non-stick frying pan on high.  Cook at least one egg per person, traditionally sunny side up.  This way the yolky goodness can run all over the noodles. 

6. The noodles should be almost done by now.  You'll want to drain the noodles well and serve immediately.

7.Traditionally, this dish is served on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet.  Noodles on the bottom, steak on top, and smother with onions. Add cooked Asian veggies if you like, and top with the fried egg. 


  1. nice! I'm gonna have to try this

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! This helps greatly with my Taiwanese craving. I wish I was in a night market!

  3. It looks unusual. But I think it tastes better than it looks.