If you are up for a super hot & spicy Chinese meal, then Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef is for you. You can, of course, control the level of hot & spicy by the amount of hot chili peppers the recipe calls for. Also, and I am often amazed how few people know this, the seeds of a chili pepper is where the highest level of capsaicin is found. Capsaicin is the colorless and odorless chemical that is what’s hot about hot peppers. So enjoy your Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef at whatever level of hot & spicy suits your fancy. Just don’t go too mild, or it’s no longer a legitimate Szechuan dish.
Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef Recipe-
For the Beef-
- 1 lb. beef flank steak, partially frozen
- 1⁄2 cup cornstarch, more or less, as needed
- 2 tbsp. pure peanut oil
- 1 large orange
- 8 dried Thai Birds-Eye hot chili peppers (more or less, to taste, and seeds left in or discarded also up to you)
- 1/2 small onion, peeled and rough chopped
- 1⁄4 cup sliced water chestnuts
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. minced green onion
- some chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
For the Sauce-
- 1 tbsp. rice wine
- 1⁄4 cup white sugar
- 3 tbsp. dark, mushroom flavored soy sauce
- 1⁄2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. hot sesame oil
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut some zest from the orange into long, very thin strips. Use a grater to grate some fine zest from the orange. Place both zests (in separate bowls) and dry out a bit with one minute in a microwave oven on medium-high heat. Slice the rest of the orange up for garnish, and set aside for now.
- Your steak should be almost frozen, but still pliable. This makes it easier for slicing very thing strips, cutting against the grain. Slice the entire pound up, then coat the slices thoroughly in the cornstarch and set aside for now.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the two kinds of orange zest with the hot peppers.
- In another small mixing bowl, combine the green onions, water chestnuts, garlic and onion.
- Now make your sauce. In yet another mixing bowl, combine the oyster sauce, broth, soy sauce, rice wine and sugar.
- Place a large bowl in the kitchen sink and put a sieve, large enough to cover bowl, on top of it.
- Place your wok on the burner, add in the oil, and heat it up over highest flame possible.
- When the oil is sizzling and popping hot, add in the beef, and stir well to break apart clumped slices.
- Fry until nice and crispy – about 2 to 3 minutes should do it.
- Remove the wok from the flame and pour the beef and all the oil onto the sieve. Let it sit there for now.
- Now place the empty wok back onto the burner, then add and stir in the the combined green onions, water chestnuts, garlic and onion. Stir well.
- Next into the wok goes the orange zest and hot peppers. Cook, while stirring, for half a minute.
- Pour the sauce into the wok, and stir well, making sure all ingredients are coated. Let the dish boil for a while, until the sauce has reduced and become slightly thicker.
- Add and stir in the fried beef and then the hot sesame oil. Cook just long enough, while stirring to ensure good coating of sauce on the beef, to heat the meat through.
- To serve your Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef, ladle all the wok’s contents onto a large, attractive serving platter. Garnish with orange slices and a liberal sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro.
- Traditionally Szechuan Crispy Orange Beef is served with freshly steamed white rice.
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