This is one of my go-to dishes. Whenever I ask Chris what he fancies for tea, you can pretty much guarantee that he’ll pipe up ‘Crispy Chilli Beef!’.
It’s not exactly a healthy dish, but it is seriously tasty! It’s quick to make too, so it works great for a Friday night treat when we’re all hungry and we want to get dinner on the table!
I seem to end up making this (or variations of it) at least every couple of weeks. It’s pretty versatile – I quite often use leftover cooked chicken or lamb instead.
Prawns or tofu would work well too. Add in more veggies if you like – peppers, sugarsnap peas, even courgette (zucchini) work to make it a little more healthy.
Pro Tip: You can also make it gluten free by replacing the soy sauce with tamari (I’ve done this several times and it works great!)
The kids absolutely love it too (yes even the broccoli!). I tend plate up the kid’s meals, and then I’ll throw in some freshly chopped chilli or some chilli flakes at the end and stir through for a minute for me and Chris.
Looking at the recipe, it sounds like a lot of sugar and soy sauce (and it is), but the combination with the lime juice just works to give that beautiful sweet/sour/salty taste.
I’ve even served up strips of this on sticks to serve as canapés, and they were the first to go!
I originally made this recipe after seeing it on bbcgoodfood.com (I’ve made a few modifications) – although this particular recipe isn’t on there any more. It’s one of those recipes I printed out about 10 years ago and kept in my little book of recipes way before I started the blog. So glad I did!!
The Crispy Chilli Beef with broccoli recipe:
This Crispy Chilli Beef with Broccoli is our go-to Chinese stir fry!
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3/4 lb (360g) thin cut sirloin steaks (approx 3 steaks) cut into thin strips*
- 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch the flour kind, not the grainy kind
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and minced
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 large head of broccoli cut into small florets
- 3 limes
- 6 tbsp dark soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free)
- 7 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 red chilli chopped - discard the seeds if you don't like it too hot
- 4 spring onions (scallions) chopped
- Boiled rice
- Spring onions (scallions) and/or chopped red chillies to garnish
- 1 tsp chilli pepper flakes
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Mix the cornflour with the salt and pepper and toss the beef strips in the cornflour until completely coated. When the oil is hot, tip the beef in and fry until dark brown and crispy. I try not to move the meat around too much as this seems to reduce the amount of crispiness you get. It generally takes about 5 or 6 minutes to crisp up the beef, with about 3 or 4 stirs during that time. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pan and place in a bowl lined with kitchen roll to soak up excess fat.
- You should still be left some oil in the pan at this point. Take the pan off the heat and throw in the ginger and garlic (the garlic will burn if you have it on the heat), give it a stir for 30 seconds and then add the broccoli to the pan. Put it back on a medium heat and stir fry the broccoli for a minute or two.
Mix the lime juice, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl, then pour onto the broccoli in the pan. Turn up the heat and let it bubble for a couple of minutes until the sauce starts to reduce a little. Add the beef back in, give it a stir and heat through for 1 minute, then add in the chopped chillies and spring onions. Give it a quick stir and then serve with boiled rice. Garnish with some spring onions and/or chopped chillies and a few chilli pepper flakes.
*It's easier to cut the steak into thin strips if you place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up a little.
Can I make it gluten free?
Yes! Replace the soy sauce with tamari. I've done this lots of times and it works really well. You must ensure you use the correct amount of lime juice and sugar though, otherwise the tamari can overpower the flavours.
Can I freeze it or make it ahead?
This recipe works best when made and served right away. Freezing/chilling then reheating means the beef won't be crispy.
However, it does still taste really good. So if you did want to freeze it, then cool, cover and freeze. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat thoroughly in the wok or a microwave until piping hot throughout. You can add a splash of water if it's a little dry.
Note: The nutritional information provided here doesn't include rice or garnishes
This post was first published 19th April 2014. Updated since with new photos and recipe notes.
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