icon Hunan Orange Beef

Hunan cuisine is one of the eight regional cuisines of China and is well known for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. Although perhaps Hunan in origin, this recipe is really an example of New-York Chinese food, rather than Chinese Chinese. This is a westernized version attributed to master chef T.T. Wang of Hunan Restaurant on Second Avenue in New York in 1971. Crispy orange flavored beef, General Tso’s chicken and crispy sea bass Hunan-style were all attributed to Wang.

Here is one of our most favorite dishes consisting of crispy, hot, orange-flavored beef.


  • 1/2 lb thick flank steak, weighed after trimming, cut into strips 2 1/2 x 1/4 inch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp Shao-Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • Pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 5 dried small chilies
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 fresh Thai chile, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of fresh orange peel, most of pith removed, cut into 1/2x1/8 inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch sections
  • 6 slices fresh orange
  • 3 1/2 cups peanut oil to deep-fry the beef, plus 1 tbsp for stir-frying

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese white rice vinegar or distilled vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Chicken stock
  • Pinch freshly ground white pepper
  1. Marinate the beef with baking soda in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or, preferably, overnight.
  2. After marinating, wash thoroughly, twice, with cold water. Drain and dry with paper towels. Place the beef in a bowl, add the egg white, and mix well until the beef is coated. Add the wine, white pepper, 1 tbsp peanut oil, cornstarch, mixing with your hand each time an ingredient is added. Allow to rest for 1 hour, refrigerated. There should be no residue.
  3. In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat a wok over high heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the 3 1/2 cups peanut oil and heat to 400 deg F. Place the beef strips, one at a time, in the oil and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, loosening the beef with a spatula. Remove with a strainer and drain. Heat the oil again to 425 deg F. Place the beef strips again in the oil and cook for 2 minutes, until the beef becomes crisp. Remove and allow to drain.
  5. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the wok and heat over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the dried chilies, stir, and cook until darkened. Add the ginger and garlic and stir briefly. Add the fresh chili and orange peel and stir briefly. Add the scallions, and mix well. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Make a well in the center of the mixture, stir the sauce mixture. Mix well until the sauce is absorbed and the beef acquires a shiny coating.
  6. Remove to a serving dish and serve, garnished with the orange slices.
  7. YIELD: Serves 4
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    Last updated: October 12, 2010