Crispy Orange Beef

By Leslie Blythe  ,   ,

January 30, 2018

Deep-Fried Doesn't Have to Mean Greasy, this beef only about 2 tablespoons of oil. Traditionally, Crispy Orange Beef is made by frying multiple batches of lightly battered beef in about 8 cups of oil. This recipe replaces the batter with a coating of cornstarch and freezing the dredged pieces of beef for easier handling as well as decreasing the oil. The sauce uses orange pith as well as zest to add complex bitter notes.

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yields: 4 Servings


1Use a vegetable peeler on the oranges and make sure that your strips contain some pith. Do not use low-sodium soy sauce. Serve this dish with steamed rice.

2Cut beef along grain into 2½- to 3-inch-wide lengths. Slice each piece against grain into ½-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips. Toss beef with 1 tablespoon soy sauce in bowl. Add cornstarch and toss until evenly coated. Spread beef in single layer on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Transfer sheet to freezer until meat is very firm but not completely frozen, about 45 minutes.

3Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, orange juice, molasses, sherry, vinegar, and sesame oil together in bowl.

4Line second rimmed baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Heat vegetable oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until oil registers 375 degrees. Carefully add one-third of beef and fry, stirring occasionally to keep beef from sticking together, until golden brown, about 1½ minutes. Using spider, transfer meat to paper towel–lined sheet. Return oil to 375 degrees and repeat twice more with remaining beef. After frying, reserve 2 tablespoons frying oil.

5Heat reserved oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add orange peel and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until about half of orange peel is golden brown, 1½ to 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and ­pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is beginning to brown, about 45 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 45 seconds. Add beef and scallions and toss. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

Recipe from America's Test Kitchen, January 2013


1½ pounds beef flap meat, trimmed

3 tablespoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons cornstarch

10 (3-inch) strips orange peel, sliced thin lengthwise (¼ cup), plus ¼ cup juice (2 oranges)

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

3 cups vegetable oil

1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin lengthwise

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 scallions, sliced thin on bias


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