Crispy chilli beef, fried steak coated in a spicy, sweet and sticky sauce is one of the most popular dishes in a British Chinese takeaway.
My fakeaway version of this dish will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes making it quicker than your local delivery driver and save you a few quid too!
Chinese Takeaway Style Sticky Chilli Beef
Spending 13 years living in rural Central Europe gave me plenty of time and motivation to work on my Chinese fakeaway recipes… and this crispy chilli beef recipe is one of many that appear on my website!
This spice stick beef recipe is one of my favourites and the one that my wife requests most often.
Beef fried in cornflour and Szechuan pepper and then tossed through stir-fried peppers in a sticky, smoky and spicy sauce.
The spice comes from crispy chilli oil, I use the Lao Gan Ma brand and it is magic stuff!
It’s a nice quick cook recipe, coming together in under 30 minutes and that includes all the preparation. It is not only quicker than your local delivery service, but also a boatload cheaper too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sort of beef should I use?
I like to use sirloin or rump steak for this recipe, both are fairly lean and have good flavour, but you could use flank/skirt/bavette steak, this will be a little tougher.
The most important thing about the beef is “shredding” it thinly, but also so that the pieces are relatively uniform in size and shape.
Do I have to use a wok?
No, you could use a large (30cm or 12″) nonstick frying pan. You will need to have the oil at a shallower level than in a wok and as a result, you may need to fry the beef in more batches.
What do you use to monitor the oil temperature?
As you can see in the video below the recipe, I use a sugar thermometer, which is another great reason to use a wok rather than a shallow frying pan.
What is cornflour?
A question often asked by US and Canadian visitors to my corner of the internet. Cornflour is the name that us Brits use for what you guys call corn starch.
Can I make this in advance?
The sauce can be made hours, even days in advance, but the beef needs to be cooked and served immediately.
Can I substitute Szechuan peppercorn for normal pepper?
No, Szechuan pepper is unique and it is not even a pepper, but the “fruit” of a shrub. It is delicious and has an almost fizzy and numbing flavour.
Don’t worry about it languishing around the cupboard, I use it in countless Chinese fakeaway recipes, everything from dan dan noodles to my pork noodle stir fry.
I have served my sticky crispy chilli beef with egg-fried rice in these pictures.
It does require a little planning and some “double wok” work, I tend to make the rice first and keep it warm in a low oven, and reheat it in a nonstick frying pan just before serving.
But plain rice is superb with this also, the big flavour from the sauce is more than enough to carry the whole plate.
If noodles are your thing then you could serve it with a plain chow mein too!
Don’t forget the prawn toast and prawn crackers to start either!
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- Wok, I use a large carbon steel wok with a flat base because it is ideal to use on an induction hob.
- Thermometer for measuring temperature, I use a sugar thermometer.
- 15cm or 6″ saucepan.
- Pestle and mortar.
- Mixing bowls.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Slotted spoon and stirring/serving spoons.
- Kitchen paper.
My version of the ever-popular British Chinese takeaway dish of shredded sticky and crispy chilli beef with peppers will go from your fridge to your table in around 30 minutes and save you plenty of money!
- 300g (10oz) Beef Steak
- ½ Tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns
- 4 Tbsp Cornflour (Corn Starch in the US)
- ½ Tsp Salt
- Oil for Frying
- 1 Small (150g) Red Pepper
- 1 Small (150g) Green Pepper
- 1 Small (100g) Onion
For the Sauce:
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Shaoxing Wine
- 6 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Dark Soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp Minced Chilli Oil (I use Lao Gan Ma)
- 30g (Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- ⅛ Tsp MSG
- Cut the beef into 2-3mm (⅛") thick strips across the grain steak.
- Top and tail the onion cut it in half and then into slices 5-6mm (¼") thick.
- Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and cut them into strips the same size as the onion.
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- Peel and mash the garlic into a paste.
- Heat a 15cm or 6" saucepan over a medium heat and add all of the ingredients for the sauce, bring them to a boil stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Heat a dry wok over a high heat and toast the Szechuan peppercorns and then crush them in a pestle and mortar.
- Return the wok to the heat and add 3-4cm (1½") of neutral cooking oil and heat it to 180°C or 350°F.
- Just before the oil is hot place the beef in a bowl and add the salt, crushed Szechuan peppercorns and cornflour and mix well.
- Fry the beef in batches for around 90 seconds then remove and set aside on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Carefully drain almost all of the oil from the wok leaving a scant coating and return it to a high heat.
- Add the onions and pepper and stir-fry them for 90 seconds.
- Pour in the chilli sauce and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the beef, stir to coat in the sauce and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 807Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 2735mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 46g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.