Beef in Soy Sauce

This is a version of a recipe my Mum had that I have experimented with in for a slow cooker format. I've pared this down to the most simple version I can. I usually run this recipe by eye, but one of my daughters wants to have a go at it, so I decided I'd actually work out the proportions, more or less. This version of the recipe requires very little in the way of process and benefits from being left all day. Slow cookers are very cheap, and you can leave this on the go for many hours - almost the more the better.


Here are indicative amounts of each ingredients, you might want to scale these depending on the number of people to serve. You may also want to play with the proportions a bit. These proportions will serve 4 or more depending on appetite and helpings.

  • 800g diced or strips of beef
  • 170ml white wine
  • 100ml soy sauce (and some more for serving)
  • 30g cornflour
  • Plenty of frozen peas
  • 90g Basmati rice per person
  • Beef stock cube (optional)

The wine doesn't need to be anything particularly special but some very cheap wine used for cooking can be very sharp and is probably best avoided.

I typically use Kikkoman soy sauce because it's not as strong as some dark soy sauce and not as light as some light soy sauce. If you're using something very dark, use less to begin with.


You can coat the meat in the cornflour to start, but you don't have to if you're feeling lazy. I increasingly don't bother. The very simplest version of the recipe is to add the beef into the slow cooker and then the wine and soy sauce. With a slow cooker it is difficult to reduce fluid effectively and some will emerge from the beef, so err on the side of adding too little initially. The beef should not be fully covered.

If you have the time, leave this on "low" in the slow cooker for several hours. Typically the more the better as long as it doesn't dry out, but a minimum of four hours and maybe up to around eight as a guide. If you're about, give the beef a stir to break up the bits that stick together at some point, but this can be done later. If you have less time, but the cooker on high, it will still likely take several hours, and the beef may not be as tender, but it is quicker.

If you didn't start off coating the beef with cornflour, you can add the cornflour the "correct" way, mixed thoroughly with a small amount of water, but as long as you put it in long enough before serving you can just add it in and stir, and leave for 30 minutes or so. If you have you slow cooker on low, turn it to high to cook out the cornflour and thicken the sauce for a while. You can also add a beef stock cube if you like. If you have time and want to thicken the sauce you can also leave the lid slightly ajar. Add a little more cornflour at that point if it's not thick enough. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more wine, or water.

Taste the sauce and add more soya sauce if need be, if the wine has left things with too sharp a taste you can add a pinch of sugar to even it out.

When you are about fifteen minutes away from serving, add some vegetables. The simplest addition would be frozen peas which will heat through, add plenty as per personal taste. Broccoli (not frozen) also works well.

Photo of the beef and sauce

Wash the rice thoroughly in a sieve and place in a saucepan. Add water (1.5 ml for every gram of rice) to the saucepan, and bring just to the boil. Turn the heat off, leave the lid on and let the rice steam for 10 minutes.

Serve the sauce over a bed of rice for each person, serve with more soy sauce. Any remaining beef and sauce can be refrigerated or frozen.

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