Among the countless things I miss, Chinese takeout is somewhere near the top. Maybe I should rephrase that as Hakka takeout, not to be confused with Hakka cuisine of the Hakka people of China. This my friends, is the stomped on and trampled version of Chinese food created by Indians and Pakistanis, very similar to Americanized Chinese food.
What makes it even more difficult to keep away from such food is the sheer volume of it in Toronto. The Greater Toronto Area is littered with these places. There’s no running away. One of my top picks from these takeout spots was usually something sickly sweet. With it’s gloppy sauce, questionable vegetable and seed oils, MSG and food preparation, I still sorely miss it.
To remedy this I’ve created a recipe that doesn’t make me feel like hurling out all the contents of my stomach or feel guilty about it later. It’s naturally sweetened with fruit juice and isn’t greasy in the least.The best part, it can be made in the same amount of time it takes for your takeout to be ready from phone call to pick-up.
Crispy Orange Ginger Beef
Ingredients for marinade:
- 1 pound beef, cut thinly against the grain into bit-sized pieces (I used eye of round)
- ⅓ cup tapioca starch
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- Avocado oil or other paleo-friendly high-heat oil for frying
Ingredients for sauce:
- 1 bell pepper cut into strips, other favourite vegetable (optional)
- 1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (use a sweet variety)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoon ginger, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or other paleo-friendly liquid high-heat oil
- ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
- Garnish: sliced green onions (optional)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the strips of beef with coconut aminos, oil, salt, garlic, ginger and chilli flakes.
Combine it well. You can cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 1 hour or so or move onto the next step of frying.
When you’re ready to fry, remove the bowl from the fridge. In a small bowl combine the tapioca starch, water and egg until it is well incorporated.
Pour the egg mixture into the meat and mix really well. I prefer to mix with my hands as not to tear the thin strips of meat.
In a medium-sized frying pan pour ½ an inch of oil and set the temperature to medium-high. When the oil is hot fry the pieces of beef without overcrowding the pan. Flip each piece after 1 minute or when golden brown, frying for an additional minute. Remove the meat onto a paper towel lined plate.
To make the sauce, set a medium-sized wok on high heat with the oil. Add the ginger and garlic (garlic not pictured). If you like a spicy sauce, add the chilli flakes in now rather than later. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes and remove off the heat.
In a small bowl combine the orange juice, zest, coconut amines, vinegar, sesame oil and chilli flakes, if you haven’t done already.
Pour the orange mixture into the wok and turn it to high heat.
Cook the sauce until it reduces by one third, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
Remove the wok from the heat and toss in all the beef, coating them evenly with the sauce.
Immediately plate and garnish with sliced green onions. Paleo takeout in 30 minutes.