Crispy chilli beef is an amazingly delicious and popular Chinese take-out dish. If you ever crave a spicy steak with a satisfying crunch, 'meat' our favourite tried and tested recipe to cook this meal.
What is crispy chilli beef made from?
Crispy chilli beef is made from slices of fried beef steak tossed in a sweet, spicy and savoury sauce.
It's a Cantonese-style recipe, and the main difference between this dish and crispy shredded beef is the added spice and cuts of meat. While the former usually use thin-cut sirloin steak, the latter typically uses shredded pieces of random beef cuts.
Crispy chilli beef leaves a sweet aftertaste. The meat has a crispy coating that tastes spicy, but you get a tender mouthful of meat when you bite into it.
The unique mix of Chinese five spices, rice wine, vinegar sauce and chillis gives it a piquant flavour that fans love.
Crispy chilli beef calories
A serving of the crispy chilli beef dish has about 500 calories for one portion of 350g steak.
Crispy chilli beef ingredients
If you are ready to start on your crispy beef chilli recipe, you need to get these ingredients. First, you need to get a thin cut of steak, better still, if it is already thinly sliced.
You also need Chinese five-powder, red chillis, peppers and spring onions. Add garlic cloves and gingers. These add flavour to the meat when you cook and add the fiery kick to the sauce of the dish. You can also purchase soy sauce and oyster sauce for the marinade. Finally, buy bottles of chilli sauce if you want the sauce to taste even spicier.
Here are some tips to help you choose the cut of steak that you want to use for your first attempt at cooking crispy chilli beef.
First, you need to decide how tender you like the steak. If you prefer chewy, tough meats, go for skirt steak from the cow's diaphragm. You will need to marinate skirt steak cuts longer so that it's easier to eat.
For those who prefer an affordable option, choose sirloin steak. Sirloin is cut from the back of the cow. it is the most inexpensive cut of meat. Most restaurants use sirloin for cooking meat dishes, and, when fried, it tastes delicious.
Perhaps you prefer your meat to be soft and melt in your mouth. Then, go for tenderloin steak. It's a prime cut and is known as a fillet in the UK. The price is higher, but it's also the cut most fine dining restaurants use due to its extraordinary tenderness. Another typical cut that cooks like to use is ribeye, which is excellent if you like flavourful meat with fatty streaks.
Ribeye is also tender, although it is prized more for its juicy fattiness. When you use ribeye cuts, you will get a more succulent flavour for your crispy chilli beef.
Chinese Five Spice
Apart from meat, look out for Chinese five-spice powder in Asian supermarkets. If you can't find it, you can ground cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise and cloves together. Else, substitute it with ginger and white pepper.
This spice mix is a must-have ingredient if you like Asian cooking, so keeping an extra bottle or two for marination will help when you cook meat, fish or poultry.
Another ingredient that is good to have is Shaoxing Wine. It's a type of rice wine that most Chinese cooking utilises, and a drop or two into your chilli beef recipe is the secret ingredient for achieving an almost similar taste to Chinese take-out.
You should be able to buy all the ingredients at the supermarket, or you can look for them on Amazon.
Crispy chilli beef mince
Here is how to make crispy chilli beef with minced meat. Minced meat is meat that the seller has cut up into pieces with a chopper or a meat grounder. Some people use this term interchangeably with ground beef, although there is a slight difference. Finely chopped beef usually has more fat than minced meat. Either way, you can also use minced meat or ground meat to make this dish.
You need to stir-fry minced meat with star anise and sesame oil on medium-high heat. Break the meat apart gently with a wooden spoon after stir-frying garlic, ginger, and honey. Stir-fry until the ground meat is crispy and golden-brown.
If you are ready to cook crispy chilli beef, Cantonese-style, prepare using these tips.
First, place the meat in the fridge beforehand. Freezing makes it easier to slice when you remove the meat from the refrigerator.
Next, for a satisfying crunch, coat the strips with cornflour thoroughly. When you are stir-frying, use groundnut or vegetable oils. These oils have a high frying point, and once the wok is smoking, you can start cooking your coated meat strips.
If you want a nice light crispy batter for your crispy chilli beef, use ice-cold water. It helps to prevent the cornstarch flour from absorbing the oil. It also contains the batter from clumping together.
Make sure you marinate the meat before you cook for maximum flavour. When stir-frying, take it out of the wok when it turns brown, listening for a satisfying sizzling sound the entire duration. This sound tells you that the meat is cooking well.
Finally, double-frying will give you a nice super crispy texture. This technique is the best-kept secret amongst Chinese cooks. Do an easy stir fry over medium heat, turn it up and make it hotter.
How to make Crispy Chilli Beef in an air fryer
You can also use an air fryer for cooking crispy chilli beef, apart from a wok. Coat the meat thoroughly with cornflour after marinating the sliced steaks with the spices. It is healthier as you use less oil and rely on the heated air in the air fryer to cook the meat.
Then, add the coated steak with some oil to the air fryer. Set the air fryer to ten minutes if you want medium-rare meat at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Once the time is up, add the sauce blend of ginger, soy sauce, and ketchup sauce. This mixture can vary depending on how spicy you like the dish to taste. Then place it back into the air fryer and cook for three minutes. You can cook longer if you want your meat strips to be more well done.
Crispy chilli beef noodles
Crispy chilli beef complements plain noodles for a gratifying burst of flavour. Medium-sized egg noodles are the best noodles to round up this dish, neutralising the spicy meat with its blandness.
You need to cook the noodles first in a large pot of boiling water before draining and rinsing in cold water. This method makes the noodles springy and prevents them from clumping together.
Then coat the steak strips, adding cornflour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir-fry the beef before adding your spices - ginger, garlic, peppers- to the wok. Finally, add more flavouring, such as chopped chilli and soy sauce, and slide in the cooked noodles. Cook them together to get crispy chilli beef noodles.
Move the ingredients around the wok so that they will not stick together, and when everything is cooked thoroughly, serve with chillis and spring onions.
Crispy Chilli Beef Recipe (Cantonese Style)
- 350 g thinly sliced beef sirloin steak
- 3 tbsps cornflour for coating
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil (100ml)
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 tbsps light soy sauce
- 2 tbsps rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil
- 5 tbsps water
- 2 tbsps sugar
- 1 tablespoon cooking wine
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red chilli
- 4 spring onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 ginger piece
- Cut the steak into thin strips and marinate them with oyster sauce for 15-20 minutes.
- Coat the strips with cornflour and Chinese 5-spice powder. Heat oil over medium heat. Next, shallow-fry the beef strips. Remove the meat when the colour turns golden brown, then set it aside. Drain excess oil on kitchen paper.
- Stir fry the garnish ingredients for about three minutes, taking care not to burn ginger and garlic pieces.
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce mix with water, then add to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens. Let the sauce bubble for a few minutes before adding the meat slices.
- When the meat is smoking, you can serve it. Sprinkle white sesame seeds before serving for extra crunch to your crispy chilli beef.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Want to watch what the whole process is like? Check out KAISSERS POT’s video recipe on Youtube on how they made their version of the crispy beef recipe! While their recipe is slightly different, the essential steps are the same as ours.
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This dish is well-loved by those who like to set their tastebuds tingling, and it also adds some flavour to plainer carbohydrates such as white rice or egg noodles.
If you have tried cooking crispy chilli beef, why not share it on social media and tag us @honestfoodtalks? We look forward to seeing your final serving of this popular take-out dish! For more Asian food recipes, be sure to bookmark this website!