Sha Cha Sauce (沙茶酱) is really underrated, and I’m not sure why. Often labeled on its packaging as “Chinese BBQ Sauce” in English, sha cha sauce is a mixture of shallots, garlic, dried shrimp, fish, and chilies. It may not exactly sound all that appetizing, but it’s a vaguely seafood-y, umami-laden condiment, and this Sha Cha Beef Stir-fry puts it front and center.
Where You Might’ve Seen Sha Cha Sauce
Sha Cha Sauce is most often used in hot pot dipping sauces. If you’ve ever been to a hot pot restaurant and stood overwhelmed by choice at the sauce bar, you know that Sha Cha is just one of many different condiments that can go into a good hot pot dipping sauce.
Everyone has different preferences for what they’d like their sauce to be, and as a result, sha cha is rarely featured as a key ingredient.
A Simple, Tasty Stir-fry That I Definitely Didn’t Make Up
Even I love the stuff and have never used it in a stir-fry. Which is why, when I was brainstorming new recipes to blog, I thought, “how about a sha-cha-based stir-fry?”
As it turns out, I am not the first person to think of this. Surprise surprise.
Sha Cha Beef is indeed a real dish, dating back thousands of years. I’d just never tried it!
My version is pretty simple, featuring beef, scallions, ginger, and two big tablespoons of the good stuff. This Sha Cha Beef stir-fry is super satisfying with steamed white rice and a veggie side, and it only takes minutes to put together.
Here’s how to make it!
Sha Cha Beef Stir-fry Recipe Instructions
To the beef, add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Mix well. For more information and preparing beef, see my dad’s post on how to slice and velvet beef for stir-fries.
Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and sear the beef until it just turns opaque (it can still be slightly pink). Remove the beef from the wok and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add another couple tablespoons of oil to the wok. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, Sha Cha Sauce, and sugar, and fry this mixture for 2 minutes.
Add the scallions and beef back to the wok, along with the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce. Increase the heat to high, and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the scallions are wilted.
Serve with rice!