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A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Orange Beef

One of the first Chinese dishes I ate was crispy orange beef, and I loved it. It was the perfect mix of salty, spicy, crispy, sweet, and sour. Every time I've had it since then I've been disappointed it wasn't quite as good as that first one. This was my attempt to get as close as possible to recreate that dish.

First, the orange peel. Two days ahead of time, I peeled the skin off of two organic oranges using a vegetable peeler. If you are eating the skin of citrus fruits, get organic! I squeezed out the juice and saved it for the dish. Actually, the first time I peeled the orange, my roommate threw the peels away, thinking they were trash. Then he drank the orange juice, so I actually ended up using fresh-squeezed juice in the dish, which is probably the best way to go anyway.
I thinly sliced some sirloin, and set up a breading station. The bowls have a mix of orange juice and soy sauce in one, and rice flour mixed with all-purpose (gluten-free) flour in the other. I dipped the slices in the orange/soy liquid, and then coated them with the flour.
I fried the breaded slices in small batches, and let them cool and drain off the oil on paper towels. They should get crispy as they dry.
While the beef dried, I added garlic, shallots, dried chilis, and the orange peel to the oil in the wok. I let those fry for a few minutes to get their flavors into the oil, and then added shredded red pepper and green onion cut into strips.
I made a sauce of orange juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and a splash of cider vinegar and added it to the cooked vegetables. I added chopped cilantro and the beef, took it off the heat, and mixed everything up.
The result was very good, but still not as good as the first one!

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