Crispy chilli beef
For the crispy chilli beef
- 300g/10½oz beef rump
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 3-4 tbsp cornflour, for coating
- pinch chilli flakes
- large pinch toasted sesame seeds
- viola flowers, available online (optional), to garnish
For the beef marinade
For the pickled carrot
- 50g/1¾oz carrot, cut into very fine strips
- 180ml/6fl oz Chinese red vinegar
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp chilli oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 8g pickled red chilli, chopped
For the five-spice salt
For the sauce
For the batter
Put the beef in the freezer for around 1½ hours until it is about 70% frozen.
For the marinade, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with 50ml/2fl oz water.
Using a sharp knife, cut the partially frozen beef into 7cmx5mm/2¾x⅛in batons. Add the beef batons to the marinade, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours.
For the pickled carrot, place the carrot in a sterilized airtight container. Heat up all the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Pour over the carrot strips and leave to cool. Seal the container. (It will keep for several months if stored in a cool, dry place.)
For the Chinese five-spice salt, mix the powder and salt and combine thoroughly.
For the sauce, combine all the ingredients and 400ml/14fl oz water in a pan and cook until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of honey.
For the batter, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then whisk in enough sparkling water until you have a light batter
When the beef is ready, heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Alternatively, heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.).
Remove the beef from the marinade, coat the beef in cornflour and plunge the batons individually into the batter before deep-frying until crispy (the fried batter coating should have miniature holes throughout instead of being a solid shell). Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Add the beef to the sauce, season with a pinch of chilli flakes, Chinese five-spice salt and sesame seeds. Top with some pickled carrots, garnish with viola flowers, if using, and serve immediately.
This recipe makes more pickled carrot than you will need, but it keeps well and can be used in other recipes or as a topping for salads and sandwiches.