This article describes how to prepare crispy beef using a traditional Chinese recipe. The precise Chinese name for the dish I am going to describe is “Guo Bao Rou”, which literally means “wok wraps meat”. There is another famous dish similar to this one called “Hui Guo Rou”, which literally means “putting the meat back into the wok”.
The meat in both dishes is usually pork. However, due to my Hui ethnic group origin, I will use beef instead. In the North of China we often say that this is a “lady’s” dish, because it has a very soft sweet and sour touch.
- Beef. Normally, I use lean steak, which needs to be sliced into very thin layers.
- Egg and flour.
- Light soy sauce, salt, ginger, spring onion, tomato sauce (or ketchup), rice vinegar, white sugar, corn flour, and cooking wine.
- Slice the beef. Ideally, pieces should not be too small (at least 6-8cm long), and they should be sliced in very thin layers.
- Prepare the ‘coating batter’. Beat one egg in the bowl, then put flour in, a little bit water, half teaspoon of salt, a few drops of light soy sauce, mix well, then put the sliced beef in.
- Chop a piece of ginger and a whole spring onion into strips.
- Add one and half spoon of corn flour, and mix well with 4-5 table spoons of water.
- Pour oil into the wok (2cm or more) and set the fire to medium.
- When the oil is heated up, place well coated beef with batter into the oil, keep on turning until both sides are well-cooked; then, put the meat on a plate.
- Refry the meat. After frying the beef with coated batter, let it cool down for a little bit, then turn on the fire, heat up the oil again, refry the meat, this way can make the surface of the meat very crispy.
- Put the cleaned wok back on a high fire, pour in a bit oil, half cup of tomato sauce (or ketchup), 2 table spoons white sugar, 1 table spoon of cooking wine, 2-3 table spoons of rice vinegar, chopped spring onion and ginger at last.
- After mixing everything together, pour in the prepared corn flour-water mix.
- When the sauce starts showing bubbles, put well-fried meat pieces in, allow the sauce to wrap the meat pieces well, then remove everything and serve on a plate.
The last three steps need to be done very quickly because the surface of the meat pieces should not soak in the sauce. Otherwise, the beef would become softer and the goal is to have a very crispy first bite. Although this dish is oil-fried, it is not very greasy (especially with the fresh smell of the spring onion and ginger).