I am very excited to share this recipe with you! In my search for a righteous plate of ginger beef, I came across quite a few dud formulas. I almost gave up trying to replicate Chinese food at home, and leave it to the pros with the MSG. Almost… This dish is a staple item for many people when ordering Chinese food. It is an absolute westernized rendition of a dish made from beef and ginger. If this isn’t one of your usual fares- it is crispy deep fried pieces of beef, coated in a sweet and dark, ginger, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Being the indulgent meal that it is, it is always a treat for me and my husband on a Friday night. It doesn’t take much time to make, and the sauce can be made a head of time- and personally, we like it much better than ordering take out. It comes to our table hot and fresh! Serve the beef on white rice, or with vegetable chow mein.
Start off by taking an inexpensive cut of beef, and slicing it into thin strips. I recommend cutting while your meat is partially frozen, it makes the task a lot easier. If the beef was in the freezer, I’ll put it into the fridge before bed, and by the time I wake up it has thawed to the right point. Alternatively, you can freeze the meat for 30 minutes on a plate. If your cutting skills aren’t great, you can pound each piece with a mallet to thin it out. The key is to keep it tender. If the meat is cut too thick, it won’t be light and crispy, but chewy and meaty…NOT OK!Slice each piece in half length wise. This part is crucial to having your meat come out like Chinese takeaway. Put the meat into a bowl and cover with a tablespoon each of Chinese soy sauce and Chinese vinegar. Speaking of Chinese soy sauce…do you know the difference between soy sauces? I’ll write a post on this but to put it simply- it’s China Lily VS. Kikkoman. China Lily resembles the little Wing’s packets you get when ordering out, and Kikkoman is what you would eat with sushi. Kikkoman certainly has it’s place, but we’ll save that for my Japanese recipes. It’s very important you use a Chinese soy sauce for this, otherwise it won’t be quite right. They don’t call me the ‘condiment queen’ for nothing!
Once the beef is covered give it a stir, and marinade. I leave it on the counter for a while. Room temperature meat absorbs flavour better than cold, but if you feel uncomfortable about this, refrigerate away. At the bottom of this post is the Chinese vinegar I use for the marinade. Purchased at Superstore in the International foods aisle, I came across the vinegar while putting this recipe together. A fellow from a Chinese food restaurant shared the product on YouTube.
The next step is to prep your veg for the sauce. Cut half of a green pepper and slice it, and cut a large carrot into matchsticks (julienne). My darling husband isn’t an onion lover, otherwise this recipe would be bursting at the seams with onions. Feel free to slice half a white or yellow onion.
Then, grate 1/3 cup of ginger. I use my micro plane for this. If you keep your gingerroot in the freezer, it will make grating a lot smoother. Grate 4 large cloves of garlic, and keep with ginger. Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon of neutral oil on medium heat. I use peanut oil for this. Fry the ginger and garlic until golden and the rawness has been cooked out. Garlic burns very quickly so keep stirring and watch it carefully! Add your veg and fry until it has softened. Add the chili peppers now, and all liquids for the sauce. Ensure to scrape up all the yummy bits on the bottom of the pan. That’s where all of the flavour is.
Simmer the sauce for about 8 minutes, or until vegetables are completely softened. Then, add your cornstarch slurry. 1 tbsp of cornstarch, and 2 tbsp of water. Mix well, and stir into the sauce. If you leave any lumps in the slurry, you will get gelatinous lumps in your sauce…not what we’re going for. Heat up the sauce so it bubbles, that’s how the cornstarch will activate to thicken your sauce then, keep on low if you’re continuing on with the recipe, or set aside.
To make your batter, mix all of the ingredients together. You want it to be fairly thick. Thick enough to nicely coat your meat. If it really is too ‘cement’ like, as cornstarch can be, add more water a tablespoon at a time. You shouldn’t need more than two. Pat off your beef with paper towel to ensure there is no excess liquid. Excess liquid will dilute your batter and won’t allow the outcome to be light and airy.
Now you are ready to fry your beef! I use a deep fryer, but if you don’t have one, a pan with a few inches of oil will work just fine. Place the beef into the oil piece by piece and keep it moving to ensure they don’t stick together. Flip the beef over once the first side is golden brown. I fry the beef in batches, placing each batch into a bowl I keep heated on the warming element of my stove. Once you reach the final batch, wait for the beef to reach the doneness of the previous portions. Then, add all the beef back into the oil for a double fry. This is a trick many restaurants use to freshen up deep fried foods. It also makes food extra crisp when they are double fried. Let it fry until it is a deep golden brown. Immediately add the beef into the sauce and serve.
CRISPY GINGER BEEF
Simple Chinese takeout at home.
- 1 sirloin steak
- 1 tbsp Chinese soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese vinegar
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1/3 cup grated ginger
- 4 cloves of grated garlic
- 1 large carrot julienned
- 1/2 green pepper thinly sliced
- 1/2 an onion sliced (optional)
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp chinese vinegar
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup beef broth
- Dried chilies to your taste
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup flour –
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp golden sugar
- 1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp if needed
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional
- Put the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, take partially frozen beef, and slice into thin strips, slicing each strip in half again lengthwise.
- Place the meat in a medium bowl to marinade with soy sauce and vinegar. Marinade the meat for at least 2 hours, overnight is ideal.
- Cut the vegetables and grate the ginger and garlic with a micro plane.
- Heat a saucepan on medium heat with a tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the ginger and garlic. Sauté until lightly golden, continually stirring and watching that it doesn’t burn.
- Add the vegetables into the pan and sauté until softened, and garlic has not turned too dark.
- Add all other sauce ingredients to the pan except for the cornstarch and water. Simmer on medium heat until vegetables are fully softened and a small amount of liquid has reduced.
- Make a slurry by dissolving cornstarch and water together in a dish. Mix well, and pour into the sauce mixture. Stir until incorporated. You may need to turn up the heat at this point to ensure sauce thickens completely. Continue stirring until desired thickness has been achieved. Keep on low heat to maintain temperature.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the batter. Whisk together until you reach desired thickness. This batter is on the thicker side, so be cautious to not thin it out too much.
- Pat dry the pieces of beef marinating to ensure all liquid is gone. Place the beef into the batter and mix around until all pieces are fully coated.
- Place pieces of meat individually into a deep fryer, or a pan with a few inches of hot oil. Cook the beef in batches so as to not over crowd the surface. Fry until the beef turns golden, and flip over. Remove the beef and keep hot in a dish on a warming element, or in the oven at 200·F.
- Once the final batch is in the deep fryer, and it has reached the same doneness as the previous portions- add everything back into the oil keeping everything moving. Cook until beef is a deep golden brown.
- Shake off excess oil and immediately add beef into the sauce. Toss to coat, and serve with a garnish of green onion.