Savoury, fruity, slightly sour and refreshingly spicy, orange beef stir-fry is a comforting dish that can be easily prepared in your own kitchen.
There are always plenty of fresh fruits in our Red House. Sometimes I would pick up some to add to my savoury dishes. Pineapple for beef fried rice, apple for beef stew, mango for chicken stir-fry, etc. Today I’d like to introduce another fruity dish: Spicy orange beef stir-fry (橙味牛肉).
A Traditional Recipe with a Twist
In a traditional Chinese dish named Chenpi beef (陈皮牛肉), sun-dried tangerine peel is used to deliver a sophisticated citrus flavour to the beef. Unfortunately dried tangerine peel was quite difficult to find in Switzerland where I lived before coming to England. Once by accident I came across a cooking program from 1980s in which the famous TV chef Ken Hom demonstrates how to make stir-fried beef with fresh orange peel. It inspired me to create my own version of orange beef which has a stronger flavour of orange and a more pungent taste provided by fresh chilli.
How to use orange in this dish
In my recipe, orange is used in three parts:
- Using a vegetable peeler to get the zest. Make sure you just peel the orange-coloured part of the skin and avoid peeling off the white part which tastes a little bitter. Julienne the zest before adding to the oil along with fresh chilli, ginger and garlic.
- Squeeze the juice out and use half to marinate the beef. Not only does it add flavour, it also helps to tenderize the meat thanks to its acidic element.
- The other half of the juice is used in the sauce (with soy sauce, corn starch, sesame oil, etc.) which is added at the end of the cooking process to give the beef a shiny and flavoursome coating.
Add an extra kick with fresh chillies
I love all things spicy! So I put quite a lot of fresh chillies (red and green) in my orange beef. It balances the overall flavour of the dish and makes it more visually appetizing (you know that I always eat with my eyes first). If you love it extra hot, include the seeds of the chilli instead of discarding them.
Stir-fry the beef twice
A final note on the beef: like cooking my favourite Black pepper beef, you need to stir fry the beef twice. Please make sure you work quickly and avoid overcooking:
- The 1st time: Fry marinated beef in oil. Once it becomes pale (still pink inside), dish out immediately.
- The 2nd time: Put the fried beef back to the wok when other ingredients has been fried. Give everything a quick stir then pour in the sauce. As soon as the sauce thickens, remove the wok from the heat.
Spicy orange beef stir fry (橙味牛肉)
For marinating the beef
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- Zest of ½ orange, julienned
- 4 fresh chillies, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- Place beef strips in a bowl. Add all the ingredients for the marinade. Mix well until all the liquid is absorbed by the beef. Leave to combine for 10 minutes.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- Heat up a wok (or a deep frying pan) over a high heat then pour in 1½ tablespoons of oil. Sear the beef until it becomes pale. Dish out and set aside.
- Discard any liquid in the wok. Pour in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. Add orange zest, fresh chilli, ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant then stir in the beef.
- Fry for 1 minute or so. Pour in the sauce (stir well beforehand). Dish out when beef is evenly coated with the thickened sauce. Serve immediately.