Why order Chinese when you can make it yourself?

Tribune News ServiceShredded crispy beef with chili is a favorite Chinese takeout dish, and it's easy to make at home.

Chinese takeout can be a lifesaver on busy weeknights. But if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you can make many of those favorites at home.

This crispy beef stir-fry comes together in minutes. It only requires shallow frying, and you can easily find the ingredients in a grocery store. Substitute tamari for the soy sauce, and it’s also gluten-free. Add a cup of steamed broccoli florets for texture and color.

I used sirloin steak, but you could easily substitute flank or skirt steak. Whatever you choose, be sure to slice it very thinly against the grain in bite-sized pieces, so it cooks quickly and remains tender.

SHREDDED CRISPY BEEF WITH CHILI

Servings: 4

1 cup cornstarch

2 eggs

1 pound sirloin steak, sliced into strips

Peanut oil, for frying

Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/2 onion, cut into strips

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons honey

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 tablespoon red chile flakes

Hot sauce like Tabasco or Sriracha, to taste

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 jalapeño, sliced very thin, to serve

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Tip the cornstarch into a large bowl, and beat the eggs in another large bowl. Add the beef strips to the eggs, and mix thoroughly, then transfer to the cornstarch, coating each piece and shaking off excess.

Heat enough peanut oil in a nonstick wok to deep-fry beef to 350 degrees. Carefully drop beef slices into oil in batches, and fry for 2-3 minutes, until crispy. Remove, and drain on a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the wok, add the ginger and garlic, and fry for 20 seconds. Add the carrot and onion, and continue frying for 1 more minute.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, honey, spring onions and chile flakes. Add a dash or two of hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the crispy beef, and stir to coat evenly.

Take off heat, and stir in the sesame oil. Serve alongside or on top of jasmine rice, with jalapeño and sesame seeds scattered on top.

— Adapted from “Chinese Takeout Cookbook” by Kwoklyn Wan

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