Wow, three in a row! Mardi Gras, Valentine's Day, and the Chinese New Year, all within a couple of days of each other. Luckily, only one requires presents.
According to the calendar, the Lunar New Year and Valentine's Day fall on the same day this year and Mardi Gras follows two days later. If you are in the food business, you will be very busy over the next few days. In this house, there is no question which one we will be celebrating next week and, this year, it doesn't entail presents!
Tangerine Beef is my favorite dish to order with Cashew Chicken. This recipe is a lighter, stir-fry version of the Szechwan restaurant favorite, in which the beef is usually deep-fried. I also like the fact that the beef is thinly sliced instead of cut in big chunks. It makes for a more attractive presentation.
2 pieces (EACH about 1 1/2 inches square) dried tangerine peel (see Note)
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine OR dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across grain
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small dried red chiles
1 small onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1/2 orange, sliced
Soak tangerine peel in warm water to cover until softened, about 20 minutes; drain. Thinly slice peel.
Combine all Sauce ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
Combine all Marinade ingredients in a bowl.
Add beef to marinade and stir to coat. Let stand 10 minutes.
Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons oil, swirling to coat sides. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry until no longer pink, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. remove meat and chiles from wok.
Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat sides. Add tangerine peel, onion and celery; stir-fry 1 minute.
Return meat and chiles to wok and add sauce; bring to a boil. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.
Place on a serving plate and garnish with orange slices. Makes 4 servings.
NOTE: To make dried peels of tangerines and oranges, peel fruit, cut peel into pieces and cut or scrape away white pith from inside peel. Let pieces sun- or air-dry until firm but still flexible. Then store in an airtight jar.
Recipe adapted from Martin Yan