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
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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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Ive made this and love it!
One question though, I don’t understand the deep frying step where you say add 1 inch of oil? Is that in addition to other oil in the pot or is all the oil you put in equal one inch?
Joyce Lee says
I am so happy you liked this!! and good question, what I mean is add at least 1 inch of oil into the pan to deep fry the beef. If you use a deep fryer, you don't need to worry about the 1 inch since you will have more than enough oil to deep fry this. Hope I make sense?
I reworded it to be more clear. Thank you for pointing this out to me!
Talal Zahid says
thank you for the recipe, it tasted good however I am having trouble getting it crispy. every time I add the cooked crispy meat to the sauce it turns out super soggy and never like the picture you have 🙁 any idea what should I do?
Joyce Lee says
To get the beef crispy with the sauce, try not to cook the meat too long with the sauce. The longer the sauce cooks with the meat, the soggier it will become.
Once the sauce has finished cooking and has thickened, I quickly throw the crispy beef in and toss it with the sauce for 20 seconds, and then plate it right away. This will usually keep the beef crispy while coated with the sauce 😊
Hope this helps!
Hello Joyce lee , I’ve made a couple of your recipes
And they were fantastic! I’m trying to find a
Beef & mushroom recipe by chance would you have one you would share. Thanx William.
Joyce Lee says
I'm so happy you enjoyed all the recipes you made! It's always nice to be able to share yums with everyone!
I currently do not have a beef and mushroom recipe but if I ever do create one, I will definitely put it up on my blog to share with everyone! 😊
Hi, I would love to cook this but no idea what potato starch is or where I might buy it?
Joyce Lee says
If you can't find potato starch, you can substitute it with corn starch. It will come out just as good 😊
Can I use an air fryer for this recipe?
Joyce Lee says
I don't have an air fryer so I have never tested this recipe with it. Sorry I couldn't be more help! Hopefully, someone here has an air fryer they tested this on and can help out!
What is the name of this dish in Chinese. I've had multiple variations of this dish, and I want to order it correctly. Thanks
Joyce Lee says
That's a good question. I don't know actually know! 🙂 I usually order it in English at the local Hakka restaurants here.
clare bush says
Hi ok the difference is this is Crispy Shredded beef which is completely different to crispy chilli beef. If you want this style from an actual takeaway then try one that does Peking cuisine as that would be more shredded beef but Chilli beef is the one that has the orange sauce and is no where near as nice as this one! My local takeaway only does the chilli beef one 😓😓😓
Do you pat off the marinade before coating the beef with the potato starch?
Joyce Lee says
I don't pat off the marinade before coating the beef, since I like the added flavour of the marinade to mingle with the starch.
I find it gives the batter a bit more flavour after it has been deep-fried. 🙂