Honey Glazed 5 Spice Beef with Walnuts and Chile... Ah, sometimes pictures don't do the dish justice. This is one of them. I think that's what happens when I'm in a hurry and need to plate up for dinner:). But hopefully it shows the main idea... somewhat.
When I first saw this recipe a few weeks ago, I immediately loved it, even without trying it:). The recipe sounded like something I really wanted to try. And I had all the ingredients in the house to make it. Even the Chinese 5 spice....
Do you ever have a spice bottle that you've used only once for a certain recipe? And that recipe only requires a minute 1/4 teaspoon? Well, I bought a pretty big bottle of Chinese 5 spice one day while traveling... wanted to duplicate a fruit salad I had eaten at a restaurant when I got home. The 5 spice isn't for everyone, and a little goes a long way. You'll find the 5 spice mainly used to flavor meats... common one would be those crisp hanging ducks you see in Chinatown. Pork belly is another. But you will find it used in other recipes as well, both sweet and savory. In any case, the 5 spice needs to be used sparingly(for the most part) otherwise the flavors will overpower the dish. But over the months, this particular 5 spice bottle was sitting in my pantry without being used. It's not like I can get away with sprinkling it on any dish I make... like say, paprika. You really have to know how to use it.
So you can imagine why I was so excited to try the dish. The original recipe used 2 teaspoons of the 5 spice. For me that sounded like a good amount, better than 1/4 teaspoon:). And I was hoping my husband would enjoy the dish, because this way I could make the dish again and put my spice bottle to good use. I just loved the simplicity of the dish. It didn't require too many ingredients and it came together rather quickly.
I chose to(out of fear that the 5 spice would be too strong) use a bit less of the 5 spice... but next time will put the full 2 teaspoons, as it wasn't that overpowering. Actually, it was quite pleasant. Also, I'm beginning to love frying in coconut oil. I love the flavor it imparts and how well it stands up to frying. And my house doesn't smell as bad as when I use vegetable oil. So because the coconut oil is quite expensive, I usually use a bit less than what I normally would, but add enough that it does the job. So for instance, this recipe requires about 1 inch of oil, I used maybe about 1/2 inch.
While the original recipe doesn't use any spice, I chose to add a red jalapeno for some heat. And I'm glad I did. Lately I've been using this ginger juice I bought in a small bottle from my natural food store. I don't always have fresh ginger on hand, so it comes in rather handy when I need ginger for a particular recipe. Plus, I noticed it's really quite flavorful and I don't need to grate it:). Of course you can use fresh ginger instead.
Interestingly the recipe is described as tasting like candy:)... and I have to agree! Well, somewhat:). It's sweet enough, though not overpowering, and just so, so delicious! Like candy in a way:). I was a bit apprehensive to see my husband's reaction. And when I asked him how he liked it, he said: " I would pay money for this!" Yay! I was thrilled... because he uses that comment sparingly, only when he really loves the dish. I personally loved it so much, I can barely wait to make it again. This is not your typical "Chinese dish".... you'll find there is no garlic(gasp!). So if you are wanting to make something different, I'd recommend this dish wholeheartedly. Hope you enjoy...
You will need: adapted from Daring Gourmet and originally from Williams and Sonoma
10 oz beef sirloin, or lean beef, partially frozen*
2 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS water
1 TBS soy sauce
1 1/2- 2 tsps Chinese five-spice powder(I used 1 1/2 tsp)
¾-1 cup walnut pieces, (I like walnuts so I used the whole cup)
1 red jalapeno sliced thin, optional
coconut oil for frying(you can use vegetable oil, if you like)
* partially frozen beef helps in cutting thin slices and strips
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tsps ginger juice( or 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
Sesame seeds for sprinkling on top, if desired
1. Using a sharp knife, cut the partially frozen beef in thin slices( 1/4 inch), then stack slices and cut into thin strips(1/4 inch)... you basically want matchsticks.
2. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, water, egg, soy sauce, and five-spice powder. Whisk to combine the mixture thoroughly.... the cornstarch has a tendency to clump up, so whisk till smooth.
3. Add the beef strips to the egg mix and toss to coat evenly. Set aside to marinate... this can be done a few hours ahead or you can let it marinate for just a few minutes. I left mine to marinate for a couple of hours.
1. In a bowl, combine the honey, rice vinegar, ginger, balsamic vinegar and salt. Set aside.
Fry and Assemble Dish:
1. Add some coconut oil or vegetable oil to the depth of about an inch in a wok or skillet.... I used about a 1/2 cup coconut oil and it was about 1/2 inch in depth.
2. Heat oil to about 350-360 degrees F in a skillet/wok. Slowly add the beef strips and stir to separate them. Cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drip for a few moments. Transfer beef to a plate.
3. Add walnuts and chile(if using) to the hot oil and fry for about a minute or so, until crispy. I like to use a stainless steel flat spatula to stir walnuts/chile, then scrape any browned bits that may have formed on the bottom of the skillet from the beef.... Drain and transfer the walnuts to the plate with the beef.
4. Remove all the oil except 2 tablespoons from the skillet/wok. There will probably be some browned bits on the bottom of the pan, I leave those in for flavor... but remove if they are burned.
5. Bring oil to medium heat and add the honey sauce. Simmer for 15 seconds or so... or until slightly thickened and looks like a glaze. I like to scrape any remaining browned bits so it combines with the sauce.
6. Add the reserved beef and walnuts, and stir until evenly glazed, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the beef and serve at once.