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Jan 15, 2024

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef with Carrots, Celery, and Chiles

This spicy stir-fried beef with carrots, celery, and chiles is wonderful meaty dish. You can serve it as dinner for four with rice or noodles, or as part of a multi-course meal for a crowd. 

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef in a blue patterned bowl with a bowl of rice.

This succulent stir-fry is intensely flavored with the beef, vegetables, and chiles, and is stir-fried with a bit of soy sauce, grated ginger, minced garlic, sesame oil, and scallions, along with some salt and pepper. 

For the chiles, use dried whole chiles de arbol, which you cook with the carrots and celery after snipping off the tops so that the seeds are released into the mix. 

I also added a couple of fresh jalapeños (I've used both red and green, depending on what I have on hand). I cut a couple of the fresh peppers into thirds and added them into the vegetables. Remove the chiles prior to serving the beef. 

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef in a blue patterned bowl with a bowl of rice in the back.

Method: To make this spicy stir-fried beef, you use the "dry stir-frying" method (gon chau). 

Dry stir-frying is a technique that involves cooking ingredients in oil but without sauce or stock. In this case, the beef is cooked for several minutes in a small amount of oil. The beef is stir-fried until the juices from the meat are partially evaporate and partially absorbed back into the beef. 

In addition, the julienned celery, carrots, and chiles are dry stir-fried separately from the beef. 

First you stir fry the carrots, celery, and chiles and then set them aside while you stir fry the beef. 

What is different from most stir-fries is that the beef is stir-fried for nearly eight minutes, until the juices are evaporated or reabsorbed into the meat, which intensifies and caramelizes the flavor. Eventually, your wok should be nearly dry as you are completing this step.

After that, add soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and toss everything together. 

Finally, add the vegetables back into the wok, toss everything together, and then add the sesame oil, scallions, and salt and pepper and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. 

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef in a white bowl.

Equipment You May Need:

Flat-bottomed 14 inch carbon steel wok: Definitely make this dish in a wok if you have one. 

For stir-frying, I like to use a metal fish spatula, but a wok spatula will work too. 

The fish spatula is great because it is lightweight and you can use it for lots of dishes. It's my "go-to" spatula these days. I even have one that is safe for nonstick pans

More Hot and Spicy Food Recipes

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef in a blue patterned bowl.

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef with Carrots, Celery, and Chiles

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef with Carrots, Celery, and Chiles
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 30 Min
This spicy stir-fried beef with carrots, celery, and chiles is wonderful meaty dish. You can serve it as dinner for four with rice or noodles, or as part of a multi-course meal for a crowd.


  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups of julienned carrots (from about 3 large carrots)
  • 2 cup julienned celery (from about 2 large celery stalks)
  • 3 small dried chiles de arbol, with the tops snipped off with scizzors
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cut the flank steak with the grain into 2-inch strips. Cut the strips, against the grain into 3/8 inch slices. Turn the slices on their side and cut them in half, lengthwise. You should end up with little 2-inch matchsticks.
  2. Heat your 14-inch flat bottomed wok over high heat and and swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the carrots, celery, and chiles. Stir-fry the mixture with a spatula for one minute. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
  3. Add the rest of the oil to the wok and add the flank steak, spreading the pieces over the wok to lay flat and sear for one minute, undisturbed. Next, stir-fry for one minute over high heat. The beef will begin to release juices and foam. Stir fry for an additional 3 minutes over high, and then reduce the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more, until nearly, if not all, of the liquid has disappeared.
  4. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the ginger and garlic and stir briefly, about 10 seconds. Add the vegetables back to the wok and stir-fry for 30 seconds to combine thoroughly. Stir in the sesame oil, scallions, salt, and pepper.
  5. Turn off the heat and remove the chiles before serving.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

16 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

4 g

Carbs (grams)

10 g

Fiber (grams)

3 g

Net carbs

7 g

Sugar (grams)

5 g

Protein (grams)

27 g

Cholesterol (grams)

68 mg
beef, wok, stir-fry
main dish
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First published in August, 2014. Updated in January, 2024 with updated photos and a printable recipe card. 

The original recipe for this stir-fry, which does not include the fresh chiles, can also be found on NPR. It's also on page 70 of Grace Young's amazing James Beard award winning book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge. I highly recommend this collection of amazing stir-fries along with lessons on Asian ingredients and the care and feeding of your wok. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your Wok Wednesday posts have inspired me yet again! I finally got a wok, bought Grace's book and her Craftsy class, seasoned said wok…and now I have to cook something. This looks awesome, pretty much like my favorite recipe for Szechuan shredded beef that I lost somewhere many moons ago. Definitely gotta try this soon and I hope it looks half as good as yours.

    1. I'm sure it will Robin! You are so talented. This has been such a fun learning experience for me. Can't wait to see what you make!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous, Karen! This was a hit with us as well. I should have used fresh chiles! I too have a plant, that is full of them. Trying to think of what to do with them all, other than making chile jam... any ideas?

  3. I think I would have to leave out those seeds to feed this to Frank but it sounds absolutely amazing to me.

  4. This recipe makes me want to rush right out and purchase a wok. Of course, B.O.B. Bob will be annoyed with more kitchen item to store in the garage. But think of all the lovely dinner options...including this one!

    1. I don't really want to encourage you to cut back on the Halloween decorations, but then..... lol!

  5. This is a lovely and flavorful dinner. A spicy one too!

  6. I actually have chiles de arbol and jalapenos! I used both last week. And I love me a good stir-fry! They're so easy to make for busy weeknights. Especially if you meal prep all the chopping. This one looks like a winner for dinner!


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