Tuesday, January 11, 2011
This spicy, flavorful beef recipe is the perfect way to chase away the chill brought on by our latest snowstorm. Certainly hearty, it's a great way to warm up and fill your belly following an evening of shovelling or sledding. I found this recipe on Diana's Cocina, where "The belly rules the mind". I've ordered Orange Beef at Chinese restaurants in the past, so I can say with some authority that this recipe is an excellent knock-off. It's definitely going into my "Chinese Takeout At Home" file. Sure, making these takeout recipes at home does eliminate the convenience of calling in an order and picking it up at your local strip mall Chinese joint, but this way YOU can control the quality of ingredients used and pat yourself on the back with the sense of accomplishment that comes with making it yourself!
This recipe begins with a BIG chunk o' beef. 3 pounds! It called for flank steak, but I had a round steak in my freezer, so I used that. Round steak is usually better slow cooked to yield a tender product, but I found that when sliced very thin, against the grain, the round steak worked great for this recipe.
Slice all 3 lbs. into thin, bite-sized strips.
Then thoroughly toss with 1/3 cup of cornstarch. I transferred mine into a large dish to stir in the cornstarch so that the beef and cornstarch had plenty of room to combine and didn't "slop" over the sides. Cover and rrefrigerate for 30 minutes.
Now to make that beef "crispy"! With the exception of a hamburger, I don't think I have ever fried beef. It certainly was effective in achieving a crispy texture.
Heat 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooking oil (I used canola) in a large heavy skillet or a wok. Add the beef, in batches, and fry for 3 or more minutes until browned. I recommend stirring the beef as it fries for even browning.
Drain on paper towels.
Now let's take a couple of steps back. While the beef and cornstarch chilled, before I fried it to a nice brown crisp, I also prepared the orange peel and chopped the green onions.
For the orange peel, just remove the skin from 1-2 oranges (you need enough peel for 1/4 cup chopped, plus some for garnish). Remove the pith from the orange peel. The pith is the puffy white part between the peel and the orange slices. It tends to be bitter. To remove the pith, I just laid the orange peel pieces on my cutting board, face down, flattened them as much as possible, and then held my knife flat and parallel to the peel and applied pressure as I made a back and forth motion with my knife as I moved it across the inside surface of the orange peel. If you've ever filleted at fish, this felt much the same.
Finely chop the peel.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the skillet that you used to brown the beef and add in garlic, ginger, orange peel, and scallions. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
To make the sauce, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and water.
Return the fried beef to the skillet with the garlic, ginger, orange peel, etc. and toss to coat. Then pour on the sauce and cook over medium high heat until the sauce thickens.
While I was busy stir-frying at the stove, my kindergartner was busy creating abstract art from the orange and onion scraps. This funny face made me laugh.
Serve the Crispy Orange Beef over hot rice and garnish with orange peel and additional scallions.
I loved this! Definitely on the spicy side with 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes in there, though. If you've got a cold, this is a great way to clear out the ol' sinuses! Way to spicy for the kiddos though, so they ate plain strips of fried beef that I had reserved before adding it back into the mix, plain rice, and some steamed broccoli for dinner instead. Speaking of broccoli...I think that would be good stirred into this Orange Beef too!
Here's the recipe, adapted from Diana's Cocina
Crispy Orange Beef
3 pounds flank steak, boneless sirloin, or round steak, cut into thin strips
1∕3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
1∕2 cup water
1/2 - 3/4 cup cooking oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1∕4 cup minced orange peel, pith removed
8 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
steamed rice, for serving
orange peel, thinly sliced, for garnish
Toss beef with cornstarch to evenly coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, tamari, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and water. Set aside.
In a wok or heavy skillet, heat the canola oil. Fry the beef, in batches, until browned, about 3 minutes each batch. Remove and let drain on paper towels.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic, ginger, orange peel, and scallions and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add the beef and stir in the sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir until sauce thickens. Serve over steamed rice with the orange slices on top.