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Ginger Beef

Ginger Beef (Canadian ginger and crispy beef stir fry)

(Canadian ginger and crispy beef stir fry)

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Ginger beef is a Canadianized version of an old beef stir fry dish from northeast China. In the 1970s, restauranteurs in Calgary altered the dish to suit Canadian tastes, making it sweeter and coating the beef with a crunchy, deep-fried batter.

The popularity of ginger beef has spread to other areas of Canada in recent years.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Beef

  • Beef flank or sirloin, partially frozen -- 1 pound
  • Soy sauce -- 2 tablespoons
  • Sherry or rice wine -- 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar -- 2 teaspoons

Batter

  • Egg white -- 1
  • Water -- 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch -- 1/4 cup
  • Flour -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon

Sauce

  • Water or chicken stock -- 1/4 cup
  • Soy sauce -- 1/4 cup
  • Rice wine or sherry vinegar -- 2 tablespoons
  • Sherry or rice wine -- 2 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil -- 2 teaspoons
  • Sugar -- 1/4 cup
  • Cornstarch -- 1 tablespoon

Vegetables

  • Dried red chile peppers -- 2 or 3
  • Scallions, finely chopped -- 3
  • Ginger, minced -- 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic, mined -- 2 or 3 cloves
  • Red bell pepper, julienne -- 1
  • Carrot, julienne -- 1
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Slice the beef into thin strips. Putting the beef into the freezer until it is partially frozen makes this easier. Add the beef and marinade ingredients to a bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the batter, beat the egg white with the water, and then stir in the cornstarch, flour and salt until smooth. Set the batter aside.
  3. Stir together the ingredients for the sauce except for the cornstarch. Adjust seasoning to your taste, then stir in the cornstarch and set aside.
  4. Prepare all of the vegetables for the stir fry and have them close at hand, along with the sauce and the beef.
  5. Heat 4 to 5 cups of vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high flame. Mix the batter into the beef strips. Drop 1/3 of the beef into the hot oil and deep fry until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining beef, deep frying it in batches.
  6. Pour out all but 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil (the oil can be strained and used again) and return to medium-high heat. Add the chile peppers and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute, taking care not to burn it. Add the peppers and carrots and continue stir frying until cooked through but still crunchy.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low. Give the sauce a big stir to mix in the cornstarch and pour into the wok. Toss together with the vegetables and cook until the sauce is heated through and lightly thickened.
  8. Add the beef and toss to coat. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Ginger Beef Variations

  • Vegetables: Use other vegetables as you like. Try blanched broccoli, celery, snow peas or blanched green beans.
  • Sauce: Add more or less sugar to your taste. For a darker sauce, substitute mushroom or dark soy for some of the soy sauce in the sauce.

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