Chinese food is very popular all over the world. Here in the united Sates, the most popular styles of Chinese cooking are Cantonese, Hunan and Szechuan, also known as Sichuan or Szechwan. All of these styles are very tasty, and all are very different. Cantonese food is the mildest of these three styles and focuses on the fresh flavors of the ingredients rather than adding a lot of additional flavors to the recipes. Because the Province of Canton is also very close to the sea, Cantonese cooking features a lot of seafood in their dishes too. Hunan food is very hot and spicy. The Szechuan style of cooking is known for its bold, spicy flavors, coming from the use of a lot of garlic and a lot of peppers, especially the Sichuan peppers, from the Sichuan Province of China. Where Hunan style cooking is very hot and spicy, the Szechuan is a combination of both spicy and sweet. Szechuan is my favorite style. I love spicy, but I really love the hint of sweetness as well. The dish known as Szechuan orange beef is a very popular dish in the United States. It is a fusion of both the Chinese and the American cultures, and is said to have originated in New York City.
Because I love using and eating fresh vegetables so much, I added a lot of vegetables to my recipe as well. I also had some leftover crab and asparagus cheese puffs that made a nice addition to the meal. Asparagus Cheese Puffs The only difference between my original recipe for the asparagus cheese puffs and this one is that added about 1/2 lb of crab to the mixture as well.
Szechuan Crispy Beef with Vegetables
1 /2 lbs of sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
3 TBSP soy sauce, divided
6 TBSP cornstarch
1 orange, plus about 1/4 the peel, sliced very thin, with the pith removed
3 TBSP molasses
2 TBSP cooking sherry
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 TBSP ginger
2-3 TBSP garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 carrot, sliced Asian style or at an angle
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
4-6 baby corn, cut into small pieces
1-1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup green onions or scallions, sliced Asian style, for topping
3 cups vegetable oil for cooking the meat
olive or vegetable oil for the vegetables
Toss the meat, 1 TBSP of soy sauce and the cornstarch together well, making sure all the meat is well coated. Spread it all on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze for at least 45 minutes before cooking.
Cut the peel off the orange and remove all the white pith. Slice the peels very thin and add to the cut vegetables. You will need about 1/4 of the peel.
Mix together the juice from the orange, the molasses, sherry, rice vinegar, sesame oil and the remaining soy sauce.
Saute the vegetables, the garlic, ginger, orange peels and pepper flakes in olive oil until the vegetables are done. You want them to have a slight crisp still left to them, so do not over cook them.
In either a deep fryer, or a separate large pan, deep fry the beef in hot oil that has reached the temperature of 375* F for about 2 minutes. You might have to fry it in batches. Freezing and frying the beef really makes it crispy rather than mushy, making the beef really stand out and pop.
When the beef is cooked, add it to the vegetables, along with the sauce mixture. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or just until everything is combined and completely heated.
Serve over cooked rice and top with the sliced scallions or green onions. Who needs Chines take out when you can make it better at home.