Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crispy Orange Beef

The worst thing about having food issues is not having the luxury to eat out.  I call it a luxury because every once in a while I would love to drop what I am doing and run out the door and grab something on the go.  Instead I am always packing myself snacks, lunch and dinner just in case I get hungry while we are out and about.  

Food is always on my mind. 

I cook a lot.  A LOT!  I have too.  If I don't then I don't eat and I refuse to live off of packaged food even if it is labeled with "all natural" and "healthy" tags.  I think using real food will always be the best choice for my family.

One thing I really miss?  Chinese food.  I love the sweet and spicy sauces combined with crispy meats.  The smokiness that comes from the vegetables stir-fried in a blazing hot wok....YUM!

I have seen versions of Crispy Orange Beef on Pinterest several times. My mouth waters with each picture. I finally decided to give it a try and see if I could use "my ingredients" to make a tasty alternative.

I think I did. The beef is fried in coconut oil. I am able to use arrowroot starch in place of cornstarch. I use coconut aminos in place of the recommended soy sauce.

I was very happy to have this for lunch with a bowl of rice and a few stir-fried vegetables along the side.  The combination of ingredients created a nice blend of flavors. Nothing too over-powering.  Subtle flavors that allow the meat to shine and the orange to be present with each bite.

My inspiration for this dish came from two blogs: Fifteen Spatulas and Table for Two. The links will take you to the original recipe if you don't need to make food adjustments due to allergies and intolerances.

Crispy Orange Beef
Makes enough for 2 very hungry adults or 4 adults with rice and side dishes

2 pounds of steak: sirloin, stir fry steak or skirt steak (what you see in the pictures)
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce or gluten free soy sauce
1/3 cup arrowroot starch or corn starch
1 cup of oil, for frying  (I used coconut oil)
Crispy Orange Beef Sauce, recipe below

1.  Cut meat into bite size pieces.  I tried to have my pieces about 1inch by 1.5 inches.  Add coconut aminos or soy sauce to the meat pieces and toss.  Add the starch and coat each piece of meat.  

2.  Using a wire rack inside a cookie tray, spread the meat pieces out in a single layer.  Freeze for 45 minutes.  This helps to dry the meat out and make it crispy when fried.

3.  10 minutes before meat is done in the freezer, add oil to large cast iron pan or dutch oven.  Bring oil to 375 degrees F.

4.  Line a bowl with a paper towel and start frying meat.  Fry until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes)  You can add more oil if you want to coat the pieces and "fry".  I did more of a pan fry on mine and it worked out great.  Remove pieces to paper towel and continue frying until all the meat is prepared.

5.  To prepare sauce-see below.  Toss sauce with crispy beef pieces, add garnish and serve with rice.

Crispy Orange Beef Sauce

2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup of orange rind, sliced very thin

1/4 cup green onion, chopped for garnish

I can't eat any type of pepper but feel free to add some spice to the sauce: red pepper flakes or jalapenos.

To serve sauce on the side:  Combine sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan, whisk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened (about 3 minutes). 

To serve sauce over beef: Add ingredients to a small bowl and whisk.  When all of the meat has been fried, remove oil and toss sauce into frying pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for 3 minutes. Add beef pieces and stir to coat each piece with sauce.

Written by Sherron Watson


  1. Do you mean one cup liquified coconut oil or one cup solid coconut oil?

    1. I measured the oil when it was in a solid state.

  2. OK, overall we enjoyed this very much! I fried in lard, because I have some lovely lard that I rendered myself. I mixed broccoli in as well. Only negative I have to say is that it made the biggest mess of my kitchen that I have seem in quite some time! Lol do you use a splatter screen or something? Thank you for the recipe:)

    1. Hi Lori. Thank you for the feedback and I glad that you liked the recipe. I have a large skillet and a large cast iron wok that I have used. I don't usually have a lot of splatter. I will pay more attention though the next time I make it. Maybe we will try it this weekend. Have a great week!

  3. Thank you for a recipe that doesn't use peanuts or alcohol vinegars. Last year those things would not have bothered me at all, but I recently developed a peanut allergy and an intolerance to certain alcohols. I LOVE chinese/asian food, but it is so hard to eat anymore because of the wide use of those 2 ingredients.

  4. Made this for dinner tonight. Maybe I reduced the sauce too much but the dish could've used more. Wasn't as orange orange as I thought it was going to be - kinda almost a background flavor. I added a finely diced zucchini and pan fried it along with the beef. Took a little while because I had to split up the beef and do 3 batches but was pretty quick otherwise. Might add some raw honey in next time to the sauce to give it a bit more sweetness or maybe just some more oj. It was my first time using arrow root powder. Was neat. I served it over rice and it tasted like take out :) My kids enjoyed it too. If it was just me I would've totally added a small jalapeño - it would've worked well in this dish.

  5. I made this recipe last night followed the instructions to the note, next time I decrease the arrowroot because the sauce was very a very gummy, gooppy, gob. I'm sure it would be good otherwise


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