1.26.2009

Chinese New Year - Crispy Orange Beef



Today is Chinese New Year, and it's the Year of the Ox. When I was in grammar school, a Chinese family moved into our neighborhood. As I spent afternoons teaching their Ya-ya (the grandfather) English, they taught me about their culture, sparking a life-long appreciation and fascination. I have taken some Chinese brushpainting classes and dabble in Chinese calligraphy now and again, but there's something I really love about being able to celebrate the New Year once again, with food. In the past, I've thrown small gatherings, or at least have broken out my blue-and-white porcelain dinnerware on which to serve my Asian creations, but this year the New Year is being celebrated on a Monday, during my school's midterm exams, so we're going low-key. Oranges are China's most plentiful fruit, and tradition says that dishes made with them represent wealth and good fortune. Since we all could use a little bit of that, I decided to make Crispy Orange Beef. Although it was a bit labor-intensive for a weeknight, it turned out well. Using a small portion of beef and lots of vegetables is how we kept it relatively light. The crispy, savory beef and fresh vegetables got a real boost from the sweet yet mildly spicy sauce. We suggest serving it with steamed rice. Here's the recipe, for two as usual. Happy New Year!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. top sirloin beef, still slightly frozen if possible
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar would work too)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup canola oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon (2-3 cloves) minced garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon
Sriracha sauce
3 cups vegetables (we used broccoli and snap peas)

Slice the beef into thin strips and lay them out in a single layer over paper towels. Allow them to finish thawing and to dry for about a half hour. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the sugar, vinegar, orange peel, orange juice, salt and soy sauce and set the mixture aside. Coat the beef slices with cornstarch and put the beef in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so the coating will stick. In the meantime, steam your vegetables. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Fry the beef in the hot oil in small batches until the beef is crispy and brown. Be careful not to cook the beef too long, especially if it's sliced nice and thin. When all the beef has been fried, set it aside and get rid of all but a tablespoon of the frying oil. To the wok, add the ginger, garlic, sriracha and sesame oil and cook it briefly, taking care not to burn the garlic. The add the orange juice mixture to the wok, bring it to a boil and let it cook until it thickens and looks syrupy, about six minutes. Add the beef and vegetables to the wok and stir everything so it is coated with the sauce. Serve with steamed rice.

1 comment:

duodishes said...

Looks good, real good. Isn't sriracha just the best thing ever? It really packs a punch.