Super crispy beef tossed with a sweet and sticky sauce - better than take out!
When it comes to take-out, I am all about dishes like sweet and sour pork and Hong Kong style Sweet and Sour Chicken which is tossed with sweet sauces. There's something seriously addictive about something sweet and sticky tossed with super crispy meat - sadly most of the time I end up with sweet and sticky soggy meat but that's about to change because now we can make this at home totally tweaked with crispiness galore - better than take out! 🙂
One of the most delicious ways to enjoy take-out is to have it as leftovers - sometimes even cold! This recipe will not maintain the crispiness the next day BUT it won't be soggy either! It actually has a bit of a nice chew! Make once, enjoy twice - my kinda meal.
If you're looking for something spicier then you definitely need to check out my hakka takeout favorites, chilli chicken and chicken Manchurian which have a bit more spices in the batter and are slightly spicier as well.
INGREDIENTS FOR CRISPY BEEF
Most ingredients can be found at a local grocery store, except for hoisin sauce and shaoxing cooking wine which can be easily found at an Asian grocery store or online.
For this recipe, I usually use a top sirloin steak but this can easily be substituted with flank steak or skirt steaks as well.
This recipe uses quite a bit of soy sauce in it so it is very easy to over-do the saltiness which is why I used light soy sauce (reduced-sodium soy sauce). If you don't have reduced-sodium soy sauce, cut back on the amount of soy sauce by a few tablespoons and replace it with water to dilute it a bit. As always do taste tests until you get it just the way you like it 🙂
SLICING AND MARINATING THE BEEF
For the marinade, I like to use a food processor to blitz everything together. It makes it more like paste which coats the beef quite nicely so each piece of beef has crazy flavour! However, I know not everyone has a food processor kicking around so you can do this by hand as well, just make sure to finely chop it or grate it. Eating chunks of ginger is not fun 🙂
How you cut the beef is totally your preference in this recipe! 🙂 However, I do like to cut them into 1 cm thin strips - gives me more surface area for more crispies! Woohoo!
If your steak is more than 1 cm thick, cut the strips in half length-wise again.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEEF EXTRA CRISPY
There are a few things I like to do to make sure the beef is as crispy as it can be:
- Use a Lot of Potato Starch - There is quite a bit of potato starch in the recipe - it's intentional! To get the beef extra crispy, you will need to coat the beef twice (after it has marinated). The first time you coat the beef with ½ cup of corn starch you will notice that the moisture in the beef will just sop up that starch. After 10 minutes, starch it again with the other ½ cup of corn starch and it should be nicely coated! Just keep in mind that the recipe is using 1.5 lbs of beef so cut back on the starch if you are using less beef.
Note: After you toss the beef with starch, you might notice that the beef will clump together - not a big deal, use your fingers to separate it before frying it up.
- Make Sure the Oil is Hot - When you are ready to deep fry the beef, make sure the oil is hot before adding the beef in. To test if the oil is hot enough, add a small piece of beef in. It should sizzle instantly. If the oil is not hot enough the beef will end up soggy and absorb all the oil. 🙁 To maintain a consistent hot oil, cook the beef in batches so you don't have too many things in the pan at once dropping the temperature.
- Double Fry All the Thingz! - Double frying does wonders to making things extra crispy. Since the beef is cut very thinly, you only need to fry it for 1 minute the first time, and another 1 minute the second time! Quick!
LOOKING FOR MORE TAKEOUT RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Sweet and Sticky Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)
- Miso Corn Egg Drop Soup
- Singapore Noodles
- Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork
- Beef Chow Fun (Beef Ho Fun)
- Chilli Chicken
- Chicken Manchurian
DID YOU MAKE THIS CRISPY BEEF RECIPE?
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Sweet and Sticky Crispy Beef
- For deep frying, I like to use oils that have a mild flavor and a high smoking temperature like peanut, canola, vegetable, sunflower or corn oil.
- If you are using potato starch to deep fry the meat, make sure to not overcrowd the pan if you are using a shallow pan. Put the meat in one at a time fry them without touching each other. I find that potato starch likes to stick when you are initially frying it and if the pan is crowded (meat is all touching) you will end up with a giant ball of crispy meat instead of small crispy bite-sized meat.
- You can double up the sauce ingredients to make more sauce if you love things super saucy. This stuff is amazing drizzled on plain white rice! 🙂
- If you're pressed for time, shorten the marinating time to 30-40 minutes by leaving the beef at room temperature for 20-30 minutes - instead of in the fridge for an hour.
- The key to a crispier beef is to make sure the oil is hot oil before you start to deep fry and double frying it! 🙂
- No low sodium soy sauce? No problem! Cut back the amount of soy sauce by a few tablespoons and replace it with water to dilute it for a lighter and less salty soy sauce.
- This is amazing with a bit of heat as well! Add a few chopped-up peppers while you are cooking the sauce or add a few teaspoons of cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick!
- 1.5 lbs top sirloin steak (any type of beef works - flank steak, skirt steak)
- 1 cup potato starch (divided in half, can be substituted with corn starch, but it won't be as crispy) *see notes
- oil (for deep frying) (see notes, for type of oil)
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4-5 slices ginger (sliced thin, 2-3 mm)
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (reduced sodium)
Sweet and Sticky Sauce
- ¾ cup honey
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (reduced sodium)
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
Corn Starch Slurry (To thicken sauce)
- 5 teaspoons corn starch
- 6 teaspoons water
Garnish & Toppings (Optional)
- 1-2 stalks green onion chopped
- toasted sesame seeds
Marinate the Beef
- Slice the steak into 1 cm wide strips and place it in a bowl. (If your steak is more than 1 cm thick, cut the strips in half again length-wise)
- In a food processor, blitz the onion, garlic, and ginger until it is a paste. (If you do not have a food processor, you can grate them or chop it very finely by hand, just make sure the ginger bits are very tiny)
- Add the marinade and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to the beef and mix well and marinate it in the fridge for 1 hour (or 20-30 minutes at room temperature)
Deep Frying the Beef
- After the beef has marinated, dust ½ cup of potato starch (or corn starch) on the beef and use your fingers to loosely coat the beef with it. Let it sit for 10 minutes
- While you are waiting for the meat to marinate, heat up a heavy bottom pot (or wok) and set the stove to medium heat. Add at least 1 inch of oil to the pot and wait for it to get hot. (It should reach a temperature of 375F). I like to poke a wooden chopstick, or the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil and wait for it to bubble. Once it bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
- Once the beef has marinated for 10 minutes, dust the other ½ cup of potato starch (or corn starch) on the beef again to lightly re-coat the beef and lightly dust off any excess starch. Deep fry it immediately.
- Using your fingers separate the beef if they are clumped together and deep fry it in the oil in small batches (make sure the oil is hot but not smoking - to test if the oil is hot enough, add 1 small piece of beef first and see if it instantly sizzles)
- Deep fry the beef for 1-2 minutes, and remove it from the pot onto a plate with parchment paper or newspaper.
- Once all the beef has been cooked once (first fry), add all of it back in for the second deep fry for 1 more minute.
Sweet & Sticky Sauce Time!
- Remove all the oil from the pot and set it back on the stove on medium low heat
- Add in all the sauce ingredients, except the corn starch slurry ingredients.
- Stir until everything is combined well and wait until it comes to a low rolling boil
- In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and cold water to make a corn starch slurry and add it into the sauce and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat.
- Add in the crispy beef and coat it with the sauce
- Serve immediately! Goes amazing with plain rice. 🙂
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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I had Krispy szechuan shredded beef that almost had a candy like outside, And since I moved to Florida I can't find it anywhere. This sounds like it could be adapted to be just that.....
Joyce Lee says
I'm not sure what the Szechuan shredded beef at the restaurant tastes like, so I'm not sure...You can definitely try this one and tweak it to how the restaurant has it. Do they use more spice? or Szechuan peppercorns?
How can I make this Szechuan style?
On my second fry, all the beef completely stuck together. The coating all became gelatinous globs and the dish was ruined! Did I not fry long enough the first time?
Joyce Lee says
OH no! I'm so sorry that happened!
Did you happen to use potato starch? I find potato starch very sticky and gelatinous when you start off deep-frying it and it only hardens the longer we deep fry it.
I think you're right, you might have not deep-fried it long enough during the first fry, so during the second fry they melded together.
If that ever happens again, you can still fix it! 🙂 I would take the gelatinous glob and put it on a plate and separate them the best I can and then deep fry them again but make sure to keep them separated during the deep-frying process.
Hope that helps
This recipe is absolutely delicious. My husband likes everything I make but this dish he hasn’t stopped raving about. Very impressed indeed. Simple as well.
Joyce Lee says
Yay I'm so happy you both like this! 🙂
Joe Gray says
Can you please tell me how to say / write the name of this dish in Chinese.
Joyce Lee says
I have only ever had this dish in Hakka restaurants so I'm not really sure what it is called in Chinese 🙂
Salima Marklew says
We love this recipe in our household! I’ve been asked to make it for a family gathering on Boxing Day for 10 people so I’ll double the ingredients. Can I double fry at home and then make up the sauce and put it in the sauce when I’m at my aunty’s house!? I want to avoid frying whilst at hers….
Thanks for this delicious recipe
Joyce Lee says
You can definitely pre-fry this at home ahead of time and it makes sense not to fry at auntys house! heehee
What I would do is:
- Double fry it at home but for the second fry don't do it as long, maybe do it for 30 seconds or so.
- Then when you take it to auntys, warm up the beef on a large cookie sheet in the oven. Make sure you don't crowd the pan and give it proper airflow to crisp up. When it's in the oven warming, it should crisp it up again (try doing it for 5-10 mins at 350f first, then add more time if you don't find it crispy enough but make sure they don't burn) some oil may also come out of the beef, that's okay. I usually take a paper towel to wipe it up so it doesn't sit in the oils.
- Then I'd make the sauce at auntys so it's nice and hot. You can make it ahead at home but it may not come out as thick once it has been refrigerated.
- Once the meat is ready, crispy you can mix in the sauce and serve!
Hope this helps! Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season! Sending you and your aunty some hugs!
This recipe is amazing. I made it for my new girlfriend to show off the first time I cooked for them. Now, I make it regularly at the home we share since getting married!
I can literally say this recipe is so good it made my gf want to marry me.
I like to add flash steamed broccoli for some green.
Joyce Lee says
Oh my gosh, thank you so much for leaving me this message! This touched me so much, and it's so sweet!
I am so happy that I got to share this with you guys! Best wishes to you guys!