New York City has so many fantastic culinary destinations. On a recent trip I took some time out of my schedule to head over to Chinatown. I had an incredible time just walking up and down every street and alleyway I came across. Stopping to talk with the merchants and explore the vast number of storefronts was a real treat. If you find some time to yourself, whether at home or on the road, grab a camera and head out the door. You'd be amazed at the treasure trove of food destinations that can be just beyond your doorstep.
Who doesn't love deep fried Chinese food smothered in a sweet, succulent sauce? That being said, the fast food/take out versions leave you wondering what it is that gives your dinner that florescent hue, and how much sugar was used in that sweet, sticky sauce that is gobbed onto your dish.
This recipe for Crispy Orange Beef will leave you speechless (mainly because you are trying to fit more of it in your mouth). The ingredients are all natural and simple. The dish comes out just how you'd hope—the beef is silky soft, the exterior is crispy and not too oily, the orange sauce is vibrant and sweet, but not in a gross syrupy way. The alcohol from the orange liqueur will burn off as you cook, this is definitely still kid friendly!
Sure this dish involves frying in oil, but the freshness and quality will make you wonder how you can ever order Chinese food in a take-out container again.
Crispy Orange Beef
Adapted from the Shun Lee Cookbook
1 pound stir-fry beef
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 scallions, white part only, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1/4 teaspoon Frank's Red Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Mix the beef, baking soda, and 3 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight (the baking soda will tenderize the steak).
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the coloured zest from the orange. Cut the zest into 1 inch long strips, and set aside.
To begin the sauce, mix the sugar, vinegar, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a large wok over High heat. Add enough vegetable oil to come about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the wok, and heat to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and egg white to the beef, and mix well to coat.
Add the beef to the oil one piece at a time so that it does not splash or stick. Stir gently until it begins to look crispy, about 1 minute. Using a wire mesh strainer, transfer the beef to a colander to drain. Remove any fried bits from the wok.
Return the beef to the wok, and fry again until crispy all over, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a strainer to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok.
Return the wok with the oil to High heat. Add the scallions, beef, sugar-vinegar mixture, orange zest, sesame oil, orange liqueur, and hot sauce. Stir-fry until all of the ingredients are well blended, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
As seen previously on GrillInterrupted.com
I probably get asked for slow cooker recipes more than any other type of cooking. I think people love the idea of throwing ingredients in a pot, and then enjoying the day-long steady build of delectable aromas filling the house, culminating in a delicious dinner that is ready to serve. A lot of folks have their tried and true recipes that they love and venturing out takes some level of risk. Ingredients have to be bought and a hungry brood will descend at meal time expecting something delicious. Your dinner reputation hangs in the balance!
I love this recipe for a lot of reasons. It draws on ingredients from the region around one of my favourite places in the world, Florence, Italy. It's filling. There are no expensive ingredients. It's easy to make. And most importantly—it's absolutely delicious. I had my whole family asking for seconds, which is always a good sign. Give it a try and let me know what you think!