Most think orange flavor beef is a classic Hunan Chinese dish, but is it? Created by Chef T.T. Wang at his Hunan restaurant in New York City certainly earns street cred, but it is not a dish historically enjoyed on the Chinese mainland. This is one of many dishes created by Chinese restaurateurs to please the American palate like General Tso’s chicken, crab rangoon and yes, fortune cookies.
Beef tossed in a sweet, savory, spicy and sticky sauce is one of the classic Chinese-American dishes. I learned to love it from Fu Mei, a Taiwanese chef at her restaurant in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Let’s Make Orange Flavor Beef
Freeze the steak for 30 minutes to make it much easier to slice thinly.
Cut into bite-size pieces.
Whisk together the sauce ingredients and boil down to a thick, sticky sauce.
Coat the beef in egg and cornstarch, and fry in peanut oil. Add the orange strips and red peppers the last minute and cook until the orange begins to curl.
Strain the beef, add it to the sauce, fold it together until everything is covered and heat it until it is fully reduced and serve over rice.
Orange Flavor Beef
Classic Chinese-American Beef in a Sweet Orange Sticky Sauce
- 1/2 lb flat iron steak – thinly sliced
- 8 strips orange zest
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice – about 3 naval oranges
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 TBL white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 TBL white granulated sugar
- 1 TBL Asian chili-garlic paste
- 1–1/2 TBL cornstarch mixed with 2 TBL cold water – for the sauce
- Cornstarch for dredging the beef
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 6 green onions – divided
- 4 dried red chilis
- 1 cup jasmin rice
- Freeze the steak for 30-45 minutes, then slice into 1/8″ strips across the grain and cut the strips into 2″ pieces
- Slice the whites of the onions into 1/2″ pieces and the green shoots into 1/4″ pieces and set aside
- Whisk together the orange juice, brown sugar, white sugar, white wine vinegar, vermouth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and chili garlic paste in a heavy bottom pot large enough to finish the complete recipe
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisk in the cornstarch until it thickens, about 10 minutes then reduce heat and keep warm
- Coat the beef with egg white
- Use a large wok to heat the peanut oil until it shimmers
- Place about a quarter cup cornstarch in a large freezer bag, add the beef a little at a time and shake to coat the beef. Add cornstarch as needed until the pieces are completely coated
- Fry the beef in the wok until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside on a rack to drain and salt lightly
- Place the onion whites, orange zest strips and red peppers in the oil and cook until the edges of the orange strips curl and begin to brown, about 1 minute
- Return the sauce to a boil for the final reduction, strain out the onion, pepper and orange strips and add them to the sauce with the beef. Fold it all together until it is fully coated in the sticky sauce
- Serve over jasmin rice
- Lightly freezing the steak will make it much easier to slice thinly. Do not freeze it solid.