Crispy orange beef is a Chinese culinary masterpiece, and like many masterpieces, it is deceptively simple. The traditional recipe has the meat cut into fine shreds, marinated, cooked, and cooked again until the pieces become caramelized. My version is simpler yet full of the flavor of orange. Serve the meat with rice steamed with orange peel or fried rice.
Serves4 to 6
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturefruity, salty, spiced, sweet, umami
- 1 tablespoon minced orange zest
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 top round steak (about 1¼ pounds), cut 1 inch thick
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine the orange zest, juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a shallow nonreactive dish or pan just large enough to hold the steak. Stir well and add the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 1½ hours at room temperature or for up to 12 hours in the refrigerator, turning the meat once.
When ready to cook, combine the salt and 1/3 cup cornstarch in a shallow pan. Remove the steak from the marinade, pat dry, and dredge in the cornstarch mixture until coated on both sides. Set aside. Strain the marinade, reserving the liquid.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the steak and cook until seared and well browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook 5 minutes more for medium-rare or 6 minutes for medium. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Pour the oil from the skillet and return to a burner. Stir 1 tablespoon of the marinade in a small bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Pour the remaining marinade into the skillet, add the cornstarch mixture, and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
Cut the steak on the bias across the grain into ¼-inch slices. Return the slices to the skillet and turn to coat with sauce. Serve at once.
1997 William Rice