2 to 4 cups canola oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
The problem with adding sauce to fried food is
that the wet sauce makes the crunchy fried food
not so crunchy. Panda Express manages to keep the
crispy beef in Beijing Beef crispy even though it
may be sitting for over 20 minutes in the sauce on
its way to a hungry you. My early attempts at
hacking my favorite dish at the massive Chinese
food chain all resulted in gummy, soggy beef
pieces that were more like flat dumplings than the
delicious, crunchy strips of joy they were meant
Then finally on one batch I decided to fry the
coated beef for much longer than I intuitively
felt it should be cookedresulting in dark
browning on the cornstarch coating and an even
darker piece of meat beneath it. I anticipated a
beef jerky experience, but when I took
a bite I found it to be delicious. It wasnt tough
and chewy as I expected it to be. And when this
seemingly overcooked beef was stirred
into the sauce, it stayed crispy until served just
like the real thing. Now with the soggy beef
problem solved weve finally got a good hack for
Panda Express Beijing Beef.
1. Slice the flank steak across the grain into
thin, bite-size slices that are 1/8 inch thick.
2. Prepare the marinade by whisking 1 tablespoon
of the cornstarch into the egg whites in a medium
bowl until there are no lumps and foam has formed.
Whisk in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the
beef and marinate for 2 hours in your fridge.
3. Make the sauce by combining the pineapple
juice, vinegar sugar ketchup, chili sauce soy
sauce and canola oil in a 2-quart
saucepan. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and
add this slurry to the pan. Turn the heat to
medium and heat the mixture until it
begins to bubble, stirring often. Once the sauce
thickens, 2 to 3 minutes, turn off the heat and
cool.Slice the onion and bell pepper into bite-
size pieces. Place the cornstarch in a medium
bowl.To cook the beef, heat the canola oil to 350
degrees F in a wok or large saucepan.Dredge the
beef slices in the cornstarch until well-coated
and arrange them on a plate.
7. Working in batches, gently slide the beef
slices into the hot oil and cook for 4 to 5
minutes, or until the beef browns and becomes
very crispy on the outside. Use tongs or a spider
to remove the beef to a plate or a baking sheet
lined with paper towels. Repeat until all
of the beef is cooked.To complete the dish, heat a
clean wok or sauté pan over high heat.Add just a
little canola oil to coat the surface of the wok
or pan. Add the vegetables and stir fry for a
minute, then add the sauce.
Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until the
vegetables are tender.Add the flank steak pieces
to the pan and stir until all of the beef is
coated with sauce. Serve the dish immediately with
rice on the side.
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