Hunan orange beef

Hunan orange beef

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Subtropical Hunan Province sits on the southern side of the mighty Yangtze River and has spawned one of China’s most famous cuisines, Xiang cuisine. Little wonder, as the area is exceedingly fertile, producing more rice than any other province and comes second in producing the most pork, beef and lamb. Although often lumped in with the food of nearby Sichuan, its cooking is rather distinct, with over 4000 unique dishes. Orange beef epitomises the region’s cuisine beautifully, incorporating chillies, ginger and citrus. Traditional recipes use dried orange or tangerine peel, but we’ve added a modern twist by using fresh orange.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg flank steak, trimmed
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
2 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons clear rice wine
2 tablespoons sweet bean sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 orange, finely zested and juiced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 litre vegetable oil
12 dried red chillies
3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
3 celery stalks, finely sliced on the diagonal


  1. Slice the beef across the grain into 5 mm thin slices. Place in a large bowl with the sea salt, egg whites and cornflour and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 1–2 hours. Bring back to room temperature before cooking.
  2. To make the sauce, combine 60 ml water in a bowl with the soy sauce, rice wine, sweet bean sauce, sesame oil, orange juice and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over a medium–high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, reduce the heat to medium, add the beef in batches and fry for 2–3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towel. Increase the heat to high, return the beef to the wok in batches and cook for another 2–3 minutes, or until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok. Return the wok to a medium–high heat, add the chillies and fry for 1 minute, or until they darken, then add the orange zest, ginger, garlic, spring onions and celery; fry for another 1–2 minutes, or until aromatic. Pour the sauce into the wok, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium, add the beef and heat through. Serve with steamed rice.
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