We are awfully fond of a good Chinese meal in this house! One of our favorite places to go is the All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet back home. 2000 miles is a bit far to go for my favorite Crispy Orange Beef, however, so what is a gal to do? Why make your own of course!
I have been making my own Chinese meals for years. Not only are they super easy to make, but they can be much lower in fat and sugars than the entrée’s you get served restaurants and takeaways.
There is also no MSG! MSG is an additive that many Chinese restaurants add to their meals to enhance their flavors. Many people get headaches, etc. when eating anything with MSG in it. I prefer to enhance the flavors of my dishes, like this fabulous Crispy Orange Beef, naturally!
Making your own Chinese food at home is super easy and I think it tastes way better than take-out! This Crispy Orange Beef is a beautiful example of that. Its deliciously satisfying, and you can have it on the table in about 25 minutes. This is a lot quicker than most Chinese food deliveries!
I admit I am in love with sweet and sticky anything. Sweet and sour, lemon chicken, pineapple, Kung Pao. I love them all. This, however, is one of my absolute favorite dishes! I predict it will soon become one of your favorites as well!!
You don’t need anything too out of the ordinary to prepare it either!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED TO PREPARE CRISPY ORANGE BEEF
For the beef:
For the sauce:
You will also need some steamed white rice to serve
HINTS AND TIPS TO MAKE CRISPY ORANGE BEEF
If you follow my sure fire hints and tips there is no reason why you can’t make the best Crispy Orange Beef possible!
- Read through the recipe several times before you go to cook the recipe. This simple step helps to familiarise you with any ingredients, steps, or equipment you will need. It also gives you an opportunity to get into something you need that you don’t already have.
- Assemble all of your ingredients before you begin. This can help to prevent you from leaving out something integral to the recipe.
- Use the best steak for this that you can afford. I like to use a good sirloin or a rump steak. This is not the time to use a tougher cut of steak that requires braising to tenderize it. You want something that will be quite edible and tender after a flash fry. Top Tip: If you put the steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes, it will be easier to cut into thin strips.
- Use the freshest vegetables that you can. This is not the time to clean out the dregs of your vegetable drawer. As they will be cooked only to crispy tender you don’t want wilted peppers or moldy onions. Also, your green onions should be crisp and fresh.
- Use fresh, firm large, and juicy oranges.
- Use only the fragrant orange-colored part of the orange in the sauce. Try to avoid using the pith. This can be quite bitter. I use a Microplane to grate this finely. It also helps to keep your zesting only to the skin and not the pith.
- Have your sauce ingredients whisked together, ready to add to the skillet before you begin. This helps to speed things up.
- Make sure your oil is hot to the point almost of smoking before you add the beef to stir fry it.
- Fry the beef in batches. Try not to crowd the pan. Crowding the pan means that your meat will stew rather than fry. Also, be forewarned, it will spit a lot. Top Tip: If you want to prevent this from happening, you can leave your coated meat strips open to the air on a tray in the refrigerator which will help to remove most of the moisture which causes spitting. (Also, save any cornstarch in the bottom of the bag or dish you coated the beef in. You can use this to thicken your sauce if you think your sauce is too thin.)
- Drain the cooked beef on paper towels in between batches. This will get rid of any residual oil.
- Once you have the beef all cooked, add the vegetables to the pan drippings and quickly stir fry it, cooking them only until they are crispy tender. You don’t want them to be soggy or overcooked. You can prevent this from happening by moving them around the pan quickly and stirring frequently. Top Tip: If you make sure that your vegetables are cut evenly in size to each other you will find they cook at the same rate of time.
- Add the sauce all at once and allow it to come to the boil. Let it thicken. If you think it is still too thin, whisk any cornflour left from the beef with a bit of cold water and quickly whisk it into the sauce which should do the trick of thickening it. If you don’t have any cornstarch left, use ½ TBS of fresh cornstarch, loosened to a paste with cold water. Once it hits the pan, whisk, whisk, whisk so that you don’t end up with lumps.
- Add your beef back to the sauce and just heat through until it is hot and serve it immediately. You don’t want it stewing and you don’t want your vegetables to get too soft.
HOW TO MAKE CRISPY ORANGE BEEF
Prep your vegetables ready for cooking. Trim and discard any ribs from the pepper and cut it into ½ inch chunks. Peel the onion and cut into ½ inch chunks. Peel and mince your ginger for the sauce and grated the zest from ½ of one orange. Juice both of the oranges.
Whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar and chilli flakes if using. Set aside.
Trim any visible fat, gristle or sinew from your beef and discard. Cut the beef into evenly sized strips.
Pat the beef dry and toss together in a bowl with the corn-starch and salt and black pepper to taste until completely coated.
Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Once hot add the beef in small batches and cook until crispy, scooping out to drain on paper towelling and repeating until all of your beef has been cooked. Keep warm.
Add the pepper and onion to the remaining oil in the pan. Stir fry just until crispy tender.
Add the orange juice mixture. Bring to the boil and thicken somewhat.
Return the beef to the pan and heat it through completely.
Serve hot, spooned over rice. and garnished with the green onion.
Note- If you think your sauce is too thin you can thicken it with a paste made from a bit of corn-starch and cold water. Whisk in and bring to the boil to thicken. Cook for about a minute, then add the beef.
I can almost guarantee that if you make this, every plate will be licked clean! It is that delicious. I don’t add a lot of hot pepper flakes, just a touch, but you can adjust the amount according to your own family’s tastes or even leave them out altogether!
I like to serve this tasty dish with steamed long grain or basmati rice. You can be cooking the rice while you are putting together and cooking the stir fry. That way they should both finish at the same time.
This makes a delicious entrée on its own or joined together with a variety of stir fries as a part of a Chinese Buffet meal. Try stir frying a variety of vegetables until just crispy tender to serve on the side.
I do not recommend that you make this ahead or that you freeze this dish. You can if you want but doing either one will greatly impact the crispiness of your beef and of your vegetables.
It is not necessary to have a Wok to cook this dish. A large heavy based skillet will work fine!
I really hope that you will want to make this fabulous stir fry. I just know your family is going to fall in love with these crispy, yet tender pieces of beef and that lush and sticky, sweet, and tangy sauce! This is truly a winner of a dish that is destined to become a real favorite with everyone who is lucky enough to have you prepare it for them!! Crisp sweet, spicy, and oh so delicious!
For the Beef
- 3 TBS vegetable oil
- 1 generous pound of beef, sliced into thin strips (I like rump or sirloin)
- 2 TBS corn-starch
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the sauce
- The juice of 2 large oranges
- The freshly grated zest of ½ orange
- 3 TBS sugar
- 5 TBS soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 (thumb sized) piece of fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
- Pinch of crushed chillies (optional)
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 red bell pepper trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
- Fresh steamed white rice
- 4 green onions, washed, trimmed, and sliced on the diagonal
1. Pat the beef dry and toss together in a bowl with the corn-starch and salt and black pepper to taste until completely coated.
2. Whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar and chilli flakes if using. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Once hot add the beef in small batches and cook until crispy, scooping out to drain on paper towelling and repeating until all of your beef has been cooked. Keep warm.
4. Add the pepper and onion to the remaining oil in the pan. Stir fry just until crispy tender. Add the orange juice mixture. Bring to the boil and thicken somewhat. Return the beef to the pan and heat through completely.
5. Serve hot spooned over white rice and garnished with the green onion.
If you think your sauce is too thin you can thicken it with a paste made from a bit of corn-starch and cold water. Whisk in and bring to the boil to thicken. Cook for about a minute, then add the beef.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350 (excluding rice)
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.