Orange Ginger Garlic Beef is a quick take-out inspired dish which packs a punch of flavour while using just a few fresh ingredients. The cooked beef is tossed in a thick, sweet sauce made with molasses and orange zest. It’s absolutely delicious!
FRESH GARLIC, GINGER, AND ORANGE MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
I wish I could find the right words to describe the deliciousness that is Orange Ginger Garlic Beef – wow! The flavours meld together so well to create the perfect balance of salt and sweet. The garlic and ginger add the right amounts of earthy undertones, while the fresh orange juice and zest adds a burst of freshness and sweetness. I’m seriously thinking of making a huge batch of the sauce just for every day use.
To be perfectly honest, Dear Reader, I much prefer pork dishes over beef, chicken, or fish. But, when the mood strikes, and I need to satisfy my beef craving, no other recipe will do except one that promises great tasting, tender beef, and of course, sauce! I love anything in a sauce.
The sauce that’s coating this particular Orange Ginger Garlic Beef recipe is simply delightful. I can’t tell you how easy it is to prepare and you’ll love the freshness of the ingredients. The fresh ginger, garlic, and freshly squeezed orange juice with the orange zest comes together with the rice wine vinegar and the soy sauce to create a beautiful sauce. And once the sauce is thick, it will coat the fried beef well. Just look at that delicious glistening beef!
ORANGE BEEF, CHICKEN, OR PORK
I based this recipe on an orange chicken recipe that I have tucked away in my recipe book. I had lots of beef on hand, so I decided to give it a try rather than use chicken. Let me tell you, I might never go back to using chicken in that particular recipe again – the beef was so much better!
If you’ve never heard of orange chicken, let me tell you about it. The orange chicken that we mostly see here in North America – either in Chinese restaurants or at home – usually consists of chicken thigh or breast pieces which have been battered and tossed in an orange chili sauce. The sauce is usually very thick and very sticky.
Originating in China, the dish for many years was made from other meats. Sometimes even different cuts of beef would be disguised as chicken. This happened when there were chicken plagues throughout China.
In mid 1600’s China experienced a disease that killed off many different types of chicken. While the southern part of China still used chicken in their dishes the northern part could not. Um… okay, maybe I went too far with that. Maybe that’s why I’m sticking to beef in this recipe!
Did you know that orange chicken is commonly thought of as Chinese food, but orange chicken is rarely found in Chinese restaurants in China. Don’t you just love food trivia?
I’ve said all of that just to say that if you prefer, you could certainly use chicken or pork. More specifically, use chicken thighs, because they’re more flavourful and won’t dry out like breast meat would. And, in the case of pork, don’t use pork chops or pork loin. Use a pork butt or roast instead.
USING THE RIGHT CUT OF BEEF
You’ll notice that I used top sirloin beef roast in this recipe. This cut of beef can be quite tough and chewy if not cooked properly. Top sirloin beef tends to favour a slow roasting method. However, since this particular cut of beef is much more economical, you can achieve a tender, non-chewy result if you do these two things.
PREPARING THE BEEF TO GET THE BEST RESULTS
First, never, never, never – under no circumstances whatsoever! – never overcook beef. Now, I’m not one who likes a rare steak, in fact, when it comes to steak, no pink at all can be showing to suit my personal tastes. But, with a cut of beef such as this top sirloin, if it’s overcooked, it’s going to be chewy and rubbery. When frying the beef, do not fry it for more than 2 minutes on each side.
Secondly, be sure to take a good look at the whole top sirloin beef roast. Usually, the beef will be tied up with butcher’s twine. Remove that twine and allow the beef to open up – meaning, allow it to lay as flat and as open as possible on your cutting board. Now, look at the grain of the meat. Position the beef so that the grain is running horizontally in front of you. You will want to thinly slice the beef across the grain, not with it.
This almost guarantees a tender slice of cooked beef. (As long as it’s not overcooked!) Slice the beef about 1/4 inch thick. Use a very sharp knife and make long cuts. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep the slices the same size. This will result in even cooking. You can trim away the fat if you want, but I prefer to leave it on as long as it’s not a large piece of fat. When searing the meat, the fat will cook down and render out. Fat is flavour, folks!
Okay, let’s get to the Orange Ginger Garlic Beef recipe. I’ve already eaten all of this, but I know you’re just drooling, so I won’t make you wait any longer. Enjoy!
Orange Ginger Garlic Beef
For the Beef:
- 2 pounds top sirloin beef, thinly sliced across the grain about 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, about two oranges
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 3 tablespoons fancy molasses
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/2 cup green onion, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil.
- Dust each piece of beef in the corn starch and pan fry for two minutes per side. Do not overcrowd the pan. Keep the beef in a single layer. Once done, remove to a plate and fry the next batch. You might need to add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan after each batch. Set the beef aside when all fried. This will take about 30 minutes from start to finish.
- In the meantime, whisk together the cornstarch, orange juice, orange zest, molasses, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
- Do not clean the skillet. Pour the juice mixture into the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to scrape the stuck on beef bits off the bottom of the pan. This process is referred to de-glazing and is often done using wine, but acidic juice works very well. This will take about one minute.
- The sauce will begin to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium, add the sesame seeds and add the beef back to the pan. Toss to coat. Allow to cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the green onions. Toss and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Serve immediately. Use fresh chopped green onions and more sesame seeds for garnish.