There aren’t many things better than a spicy Crispy Chilli Beef dish on a bed of fluffy white rice. If this dish is your Chinese Restaurant favourite, you must try making it yourself. Seriously, ditch the takeaway and make this pan-fried beef steak with vegetables, sweet and spicy chilli sauce and white rice at home! You will definitely be impressed…
- Better Than Chinese Takeaway
- Will I Need A Wok To Make Chinese Chilli Beef?
- Ingredients and Substitutes
- What Cut Of Beef To Use for Crispy Chili Beef?
- What Does Cornstarch Do To Beef?
- Recipe FAQs
- Storage and Reheating
- What to Serve with Crispy Chilli Beef?
- Other Fakeaway Recipes
- Crispy Chilli Beef | Chinese Takeaway Favourite
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost for you! Thank you!
Better Than Chinese Takeaway
We don’t eat beef very often, but when we do, it’s something special. And for us, Chinese Crispy Chilli Beef is as special as it gets. Not only extremely tasty and satisfying to eat, but it’s also such a wonderful feeling to be able to re-create my favourite Chinese Takeaway dish.
Ever since we started making this Shredded Chilli Beef, Crispy Chilli Chicken, Salt and Pepper Chicken and our Tofu Kung Pao dishes, we haven’t had to order a Chinese Takeaway again. Not hard to make, with no unusual ingredients and with less refined sugar than most, this recipe will definitely meet, if not exceed your expectations.
The irresistible crunch of that golden brown crispy coating on the beef slices.
Sweet, spicy, umami, tangy sauce.
100% better than takeout.
What’s not to love?!
Want a Chinese Feast from your slow cooker? Try our Sticky Crispy Pork Belly in a Slow Cooker next!
Will I Need A Wok To Make Chinese Chilli Beef?
You will ideally need a wok for this recipe, however, I made it using frying pans. A wok-shaped pan, however, would save you some oil, so I would recommend getting one if you’re a fan of Chinese and South-East Asian cuisines. Here’s the link to one that’s perfect for cooking two portions. And you can also find the one we recommend if you’re cooking for a family here.
However, don’t worry if you don’t have a wok – simply use a good old frying pan! It will still taste amazing, trust us!
Ingredients and Substitutes
Whilst the list may seem long, you will probably have most of the pantry ingredients at home already. Find the exact quantities in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- sirloin steak: have a look at other cuts of beef that are suitable for this Crispy Chilli Beef recipe in the section below.
- sesame oil: we use toasted sesame oil for maximum flavour.
- caster sugar: or white granulated sugar.
- soy sauce: use tamari, if you are looking for a gluten-free dish.
- egg: 1 small egg will suffice.
- cornflour: also known as corn starch. You may substitute it with potato starch.
- vegetable oil: or any other oil suitable for frying.
- vegetables: a small carrot and red bell pepper.
- ginger: peeled and very finely chopped.
- garlic cloves: peeled and very finely chopped.
- red chillies: sliced into thin rounds. If you want milder heat, remove the seeds.
For The Sauce
- tomato ketchup: taste your ketchup first. If it is very vinegary, reduce the amount of extra vinegar in the recipe.
- rice vinegar (rice wine vinegar): may be replaced with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, but make sure to reduce the amount by 30%, as they are typically a lot sharper.
- clear honey: can be replaced with extra light brown sugar.
- brown sugar: we use soft light brown sugar.
- soy sauce: replace with tamari for a gluten-free option.
- spring onions: green onions, or scallions.
- a pinch of sesame seeds: ideally, toasted.
- white long-grain rice.
What Cut Of Beef To Use for Crispy Chili Beef?
When it comes to preparing a delectable crispy chilli beef dish inspired by the flavours of Chinese takeaways, choosing the right cut of beef is essential to achieve that perfect combination of tender, juicy meat and irresistible crispiness. While the recipe traditionally calls for sirloin steak, there are a few alternative options that can work equally well, such as skirt steak and rump steak. Let’s explore the characteristics and suitability of each cut:
- Sirloin Steak:
- Sirloin steak is a popular choice for crispy chilli beef due to its tenderness and flavour.
- It has a well-balanced amount of marbling, which contributes to the steak’s juiciness and richness.
- Sirloin steak is relatively lean and offers a tender texture, making it a prime candidate for quick stir-frying.
- Its versatility allows it to absorb the flavours of the crispy chilli beef sauce while maintaining its own distinct taste.
- Skirt Steak:
- Skirt steak is a flavorful and relatively economical cut that can be used as an alternative to sirloin steak.
- It has a robust beefy taste and a slightly chewier texture compared to sirloin, which some people prefer in this dish.
- Skirt steak is well-suited for marinating, making it an excellent choice for absorbing the flavours of the crispy chilli beef sauce.
- Rump Steak:
- Rump steak is another suitable option for crispy chilli beef, offering a balance between tenderness and affordability.
- It possesses a good amount of marbling, ensuring a moist and juicy result when cooked correctly.
- Rump steak tends to be slightly firmer than sirloin, providing a satisfying bite to the dish.
- When sliced into thin strips, rump steak works well in this recipe, absorbing the bold flavours of the crispy chilli sauce while maintaining its integrity.
Regardless of the cut you choose, it is important to slice the beef into thin, uniform strips. This ensures that the meat cooks quickly and evenly while maximizing the surface area for achieving that desirable crispy texture. Remember to consider personal preferences for tenderness, flavour, and texture when selecting the ideal cut of beef for your crispy chilli beef recipe.
What Does Cornstarch Do To Beef?
Oh, it does plenty of good! Especially in this crispy beef recipe.
- Corn flour (corn starch) creates a protective layer on the beef, allowing it to cook through without drying out too much on the inside.
- Whether you shallow fry or opt for deep frying, cornflour coating will give your beef a satisfying crispy exterior that Chinese restaurants are so popular for!
- Cornflour coating makes the sauce adhere to the beef better, making every piece extremely flavoursome, and not too dry!
Cut the steak into thin strips against the grain, that is, in a different direction from which the natural muscle fibres run in.
When the meat is cut, put it in a large bowl with a tablespoon of sesame oil, 2 tablespoon of soy sauce and a pinch of caster sugar. Leave to marinate, whilst you prepare all the other elements of the dish.
To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl, combine, 2 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 2 tablespoon of tomato ketchup, 5 tablespoon rice wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce. Give everything a good mix and set aside for later.
Crush and finely chop your garlic and ginger. The best way to do that, if you’re not using a garlic press or a mincer is to crush them first with the side of the knife. Use a wide-bladed knife, place it on top of your unpeeled garlic with the sharp edge facing away and slam the palm of your hand to crush it under the blade (take care not to cut yourself). Then remove the skin and chop as finely as you can. I do the same with my ginger but peel it first (the skin might make the dish have a bitter aftertaste). Then thinly slice one red chilli into rounds. You may choose to remove the seeds if you don’t like your food too spicy.
Now julienne (cut into short thin strips) a small carrot and half of the red pepper. You can use a mandoline slicer if you wish.
Crack a small egg into your beef and mix well so all the beef strips are well coated. Put the cornflour (cornstarch) into a large mixing bowl and season well with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Then add your beef strips (let any excess egg drip off) into corn flour and mix well with your hands until all the strips are covered. Strips should now be separated from each other and each should have a full coat of cornflour. It’s essential to use an excessive amount of cornflour (corn starch) to make sure your beef is crispy, so don’t be stingy.
Add about 120ml of vegetable oil (or other odourless oil) into your wok or a frying pan. I tend to use a smaller pan and fry my beef in three small batches. Using a small pan means I need to add less oil for the beef to fully submerge (just me being frugal). Make sure your oil is hot before you start adding beef. And don’t overcrowd the pan. Better fry in batches. It will only take 2-3 minutes per batch so you won’t save that much time if you do it all in one go.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beef onto a kitchen paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Then repeat with the rest of the beef. That’s your Chinese crispy beef ready!
In a separate large frying pan or wok, add a tablespoon of oil over medium heat (I just take a spoonful from my beef pan). Add carrots, pepper, chilli, ginger and garlic and fry on medium-high heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add the sauce that you prepared earlier. Stir and leave to vigorously bubble for a minute. Add your crispy meat and toss just enough to coat.
Serve your chilli beef with some spring onions (a.k.a. green onions) and sesame seeds scattered on top and some fluffy white rice on the side. A dish that the whole family is sure to enjoy!
We chose to use sirloin steak for our Crispy Chilli Beef, as it is nice and tender. However, both minute steak and rump steak will work just fine, as long as you slice your beef thinly enough, as your beef will be flash cooked, so it won’t have much time to soften.
For best results, that is tender beef that isn’t chewy, you want thin strips cut against the grain, that is, in a different direction from which the natural muscle fibres run in.
TOP TIP: Place the steaks in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to slightly firm them up. It will aid the process of thinly slicing it into strips.
Yes. Even though it only takes minutes to throw the sauce ingredients in a bowl and heat it up, you may choose to use a shop-bought sauce. We tried out crispy strips of beef with sweet chilli sauce and hoisin sauce, both of which worked well. If you are looking for a smoky spicy sauce, try char siu sauce mixed with a bit of sriracha.
Storage and Reheating
For best results, serve Crispy Chilli Beef immediately. Whilst it will be safe to eat after storing it in the fridge for up to 2 days, the beef and the veggies will lose their crunchy texture.
This recipe is not suitable for freezing either.
What to Serve with Crispy Chilli Beef?
We often serve crispy chilli beef with white rice, but this crispy beef is absolutely delicious stuffed in Bao Buns. If you are looking for a couple of vegetable side dishes that pair well with Chinese beef, here are some that we’d recommend:
- Asian Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Mayo
- Fried Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon (Garlic Broccolini)
- Charred Pak Choi
Other Fakeaway Recipes
If you love a Chinese takeaway but want to replicate some of your favourite dishes at home, have a look at some of our favourite fakeaway recipes below. Some of them will come together quicker than your takeaway would have arrived 🙂
- Crispy Tofu Kung Pao
- Chinese Salt And Pepper Chicken
- Chicken in Oyster Sauce (Hong Sue Chicken)
- Vegan Pineapple Stir Fry with Curried Coconut Sauce
Crispy Chilli Beef | Chinese Takeaway Favourite
- 200 g sirloin steak fat trimmed off
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon caster sugar
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 small egg
- 170 g cornflour
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- 1 small carrot cut into thin short sticks
- ½ red pepper cut into thin short slices
- 25 g ginger peeled and very finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 red chilli sliced into thin rounds
For The Sauce:
- 2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 5 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 spring onion sliced
- a pinch of sesame seeds
- 150 g white long grain rice to serve
- Cut the meat into thin long strips (for tips, see text above). Place them in the bowl and add sesame oil, caster sugar and 2 tablespoon of soy sauce. Mix and set aside to marinade.
- In a separate small bowl, make your sauce. Mix tomato ketchup, honey, rice vinegar, dark soy sauce and brown sugar. Set aside for later.
- Julienne your carrots and half of the red pepper. Crush and finely chop garlic and ginger, and cut your chilli into rounds.
- Put the rice on to boil following instructions on the packet.
- Crack a small egg into your beef and mix to coat. In a large mixing bowl, put the cornflour and season with some salt and pepper. Then add the marinated beef and mix with your hands until all the beef strips are fully coated and no longer stuck together. Shake off any excess cornflour and place the coated beef strips of a clean plate.
- Heat 120ml of odourless oil in a small pan or a wok. Once hot add ⅓ of your beef and fry for 3 minutes. Transfer cooked beef on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the beef. You can use a large pan or wok, but you will need to add a lot more oil for the beef to submerge in oil. It is important, however not to overcrowd the pan if you want your beef crispy.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil (taken from the beef pan) in a separate large frying pan or wok. Add carrots, pepper, ginger, garlic and chilli and fry on high heat for 30 seconds. Tip in the sauce you prepared earlier and bring to a boil. Boil vigorously for a minute, then add the crispy beef and toss just enough to coat.
- Serve on a bed of white rice. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and sliced spring onion on top.