Cheap to make and devastatingly delicious! A perfect mid week treat or as part of a larger meal. The origin of the dish is not known, but it is probably a European adaptation of a Sichuan dish. A dish best served with rice alongside a very cold beer.
Chinese crispy chilli beef
1 beaten egg
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tsp light soya sauce or Japanese soya sauce
a thumb of ginger, peeled and very finely minced
1 tsp roughly broken black pepper
2 tbsp groundnut oil
2 long red chillies, very finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic, very finely sliced (paper thin)
½ a star anise
5 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp light soya sauce or Japanese soya sauce
1 tbsp black or balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or sweet sherry
juice and zest of ½ an orange
1 tsp hot chilli oil (mostly the chilli silt rather than the oil itself)
fresh wild garlic, roughly chopped (season permitting or optional)
- Sliver the beef into 5cm long strands, at about ½ cm wide.
- Put the beef in a bowl with the marinade mix and leave for 2-4 hours in the fridge, covered.
- To make the sauce, dry fry the crushed black pepper in a pan and over a medium heat until it begins to smoke. Continue to cook for 30 seconds more while swirling it continuously.
- Add the oil into the pan and bring it up to heat before adding the chilli, garlic, ginger and star anise. The oil should be hot enough that the sizzling starts immediately.
- Cook until the garlic only just begins to change colour to ivory.
- Add in the ketchup, wine, soya sauce, vinegar, honey, orange juice, and its zest to the chilli sauce.
- Simmer until syrupy and put to one side.
- On a plate tip 100g corn flour, dredge the wet pieces of beef until well coated and lay on a plate. Use a little extra flour if needed.
- In a wok, heat a good amount of oil so that the beef can deep fry in batches.
- Have a large mixing bowl waiting with paper to drain the beef.
- Fry the beef in small batches, probably 3 strips, until crisp – the object is not to overly cook the beef but to fry the flour to crisp. Note that corn flour will remain pale even when crisp so do not try to achieve a dark colour.
- Fry the beef and drop each batch in the bowl.
- When all is fried, remove the paper from the bowl leaving just the beef in the bottom and toss the wild garlic into the hot beef where it will wilt. Follow with the sticky sauce turning until it’s well coated.
Eat with rice alongside a cold beer.