Orange Flavored Beef

Way back in the day, orange flavored beef was one of my favorite dishes at Joyce Chen’s in Cambridge.

This is pretty simple and serves 4:

Orange Flavored Beef

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, plus the juice of one orange
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (do not use seasoned rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

For the beef:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 boneless rib-eye steak, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 1” pieces
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts cut into 1” pieces and separated
  • 2 to 4 dried red chiles, or to taste

Make the sauce: Heat oil in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add ginger, jalapeño, orange zest and stir to combine. Sauté mixture until ingredients soften, approximately 2 to 3 minutes, then add garlic and continue cooking until it softens, approximately 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Add orange juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce to pan and stir to combine. Allow mixture to come to a boil, then lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and reduces by half, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare the beef: Whisk egg white, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add the steak and toss to coat with the batter.

In a large skillet or wok set over high heat, heat oil until it shimmers and is about to smoke. Add beef to the pan in a single layer and cook without stirring until the bottoms of the pieces are crisp and golden, approximately 60 to 90 seconds. Add white pieces of scallion and chiles to the pan, then turn the beef pieces over and cook the other sides, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes more for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter.

Pour the sauce into the hot pan, let it boil and stir it as it thickens. Add meat and white scallions and stir to coat with the sauce. Return meat and sauce to the platter and scatter green scallions over the top. Serve with steamed broccoli and white rice and enjoy!

My verdict:

For a first attempt, this was easy and good. I was a little hesitant to use a good steak (strip rather than ribeye) but Frank loved how tender the steak was. I wanted more of an orange flavor and more heat. Next time, maybe some strips of orange peel, rather than just the zest. The version I remember had dried orange or tangerine peel in it and a lot more chiles.

The sauce was a little thin—maybe it needed to be reduced a bit more. I just added it to the cooked beef, rather than remove and replace the beef. The sauce was made ahead of time so that made getting dinner on the table a lot easier. If this becomes a favorite, it might be a good idea to make extra sauce, so you can pull it out when you’re ready to cook.

 

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