If I weren’t armed with the stats to back me up, I’d be too ashamed to admit yet another dirty takeaway secret. But the truth is, I know you love it too – the blog stats show, time and time again that the most popular recipes on Every Nook & Cranny are homemade versions of takeaway favourites (bargain bucket anyone? Perhaps a sweet & sour chicken instead?).  Today, I’m showing you how to make Crispy Chilli Beef – a regular for me and Hungry Hubby when we do indulge in a cheeky Chinese takeaway. 

Crisp and a little chewy, thin shreds of beef are dusted with potato flour seasoned with five spice in this case, then fried and slicked with a fiery sweet chilli sauce. Thin shreds of carrot and green pepper are the mainstay of the vegetable quotient of this addictive dish. We can’t stand green peppers so red it is instead. A little sliced celery gives just a little je ne sais quoi I really love to the whole dish, but it’s not always added at the Chinese take away place so don’t feel you have to too. Sweet and spicy with plenty of fresh ginger and some garlic, it’s vibrant to look at and tastes so much fresher eaten the instant it is cooked, as opposed to out of a silver foil tray upto an hour later. 

crispy chilli beef_

Whilst I can’t claim this is healthy or low cal, it certainly is better for you than the deep fat fried versions with what I fear is all too often very questionable quality meat. Buy a single free range sirloin steak, be tight with the oil and the pair of you will eat like kings and enjoy every mouthful.

I timed myself for the purposes of this post and like many stir-fry still dishes, there is a lot of chopping involved which slows you down. I can do it in 40 minutes, fridge to bowl (including doing the photos you see but of course, it isn’t a requirement to take photos of your food 😉 ). It therefore doesn’t quite fit into my 30 minute or under “Fast Food” recipe category but it would certainly be fantastic to do of a Friday or Saturday night instead of making a trek to the nearest Chinese takeaway, and it’s just about do-able on a weekday when you’ve not had too manic a day at work. 


Crispy Chilli Beef
Serves 2
A takeaway favourite made better for you at home!
For the sauce
  1. 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce or chilli jam
  2. 1 tsp Chinkiang black vinegar
  3. 1 tsp sesame oil
  4. 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  5. 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  6. 2-3 tbsp water
For the beef
  1. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 sirloin steak, de-rinded and cut into thin rags
  3. 2-3 tbsp potato flour
  4. 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 2 tbsp ginger, grated
  7. 1 spring onion,minced
  8. 4 spring onions, whites only, sliced lengthways
  9. 1 medium carrot, julienned
  10. 1 red pepper, julienned
  11. 1 rib of celery, finely sliced on the diagonal
  12. 1-2 red chillies, sliced thinly (keep the seeds in if you like the heat)
  1. Mix the sauce up in a small bowl (or shake it up in a clean jam jar) adding enough water to let it down a little, not to make it too runny.
  2. Sprinkle the potato flour, five spice and salt and pepper onto the shreds of steak and coat very well.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a wok or large frying pan and when hot, toss in the steak, in two batches if your pan isn't very big.
  4. Cook for a minute per side and when crisp with no raw meat showing, transfer to a plate.
  5. Add a drop more oil if needed and toss in the carrot, red pepper and celery - stir constantly to prevent it sticking and continue to cook on high. At this point, add a splash of water if it sticks rather than anymore oil.
  6. Add in the garlic, ginger and the minced spring onion and cook for 1 minute.
  7. When softened (only 2-3 minutes on high) add the sauce and stir quickly to prevent it catching.
  8. Add the beef and bring back to temperature then fold in most of the sliced spring onions, reserving some for garnish (with a slice of chilli or two too).
  9. Serve over steamed rice or noodles as liked.
  1. I like to serve it with steamed rice - usually about a quarter cup of dried basmati or jasmine rice per person cooked via the absorption method on the stove or in the microwave.
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Crispy Chinese Chilli Beef
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