WARNING! Do not attempt this recipe unless you have a kitchen slave. LOL. This disclaimer comes from my wonderful husband who shares kitchen duties with me. I cook and he comes behind me cleaning my messes from the stove, the counters, and washes the collection of utensils, bowls, and anything else that I can use to create the recipes that come your way. He calls me the mess maker and calls himself the kitchen slave. He advises everyone that this recipe can create a mess but it is a wonderfully crispy, savory dish. Is it worth it…he said it is delicious but he is still thinking about the mess.
He makes my life easy as I create a recipe. Not only is he my taster, critique of sauces in the making…he is my sounding board. Of course, this is probably the hardest job in the world. He refuses to give advise because if something goes wrong with the recipe…I may tend to say it was his fault. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Now to the recipe. Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef is an Americanized recipe that is said to have originated in New York City. You will probably find this dish on most restaurant menus. Orange Beef is a favorite of my husband’s when we go to a small Chinese restaurant fifteen minutes from our house. I decided that I would recreate this dish for him. The result is absolutely delicious. If you have a deep fryer, you will probably not have the mess created by using a frying pan. If you do not have a deep fryer, I would suggest using a deep pot and splatter screen to contain any splatters.
Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef
- 1 lb. thinly sliced beef (I used sirloin tip with lots of marbling for taste and tenderness, sliced about a 1/4 to less than a 1/2 inch thick)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1 egg white, beaten
- peel from one orange (bitter pith removed), dried in a 120 degree F oven for one hour
- 1 c. orange juice
- 2 Tbsp. mirin or soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. hoisin
- 2 tsp. hot chili garlic sauce
- 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. grated ginger
- 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 to 6 Thai bird chilies (optional)
- 1/3 c. white wine
- Peanut oil for frying
Cut the beef into strips about 1 by 3 inches and season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and toss with the cornstarch. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
Combine orange juice, mirin, hoisin, chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, ginger and garlic in a sauté pan and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the dried orange peel and stir until coated. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat peanut oil until hot.
Add the beaten egg whites to the cornstarch coated beef and mix until completely coated. Carefully add the beef (do in batches so that the meat fries and doesn’t steam) to the oil and cook for one minute. Remove and drain on paper towel. Return the beef to the hot oil and fry for an additional minute. (This second frying is what insures crispy beef.) Remove, drain on paper towel.
Pour out all but 1 or 2 Tbsp. of oil. (If you have used a deep fryer, you will remove the beef and use a sauté pan to finish the dish with 1 – 2 Tbsp. of oil). Add the garlic and chilies (if using) and cook until soft. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the reserved sauce and beef. Stir until the meat is totally coated in the sauce.
I served this spicy dish with sesame garlic broccoli and scallion rice. The broccoli gave a nice crunch and color to the meal. You can’t have Chinese food without rice. I added a little scallion and sesame oil to the rice for added flavor.
Please do not be afraid to try this recipe. Just know that there may be a little additional cleanup in the kitchen. I think the result was great. The crispy beef strips are combined with a sticky sweet and spicy sauce . The pungent flavor from the orange peel gives a great taste to this dish as well as filling your kitchen with wonderful aromas.