World Cuisine

  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 375 g (12 oz) thin sirloin steaks, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 200 g (7 oz) carrots, cut into thin sticks
  • 1 cm (½ inch) piece fresh root ginger, cut into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • finely grated rind of ½ orange
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • 3 spring onions, cut into thin strips
  • finely grated rind of ½ orange

Place the Szechuan peppercorns in a dry wok and stir over a medium heat until they begin to pop and release their aroma. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and pound with the salt until coarsely ground. Tip into a dish with the cornflour, add the beef strips and toss together.

Pour enough oil into the wok to deep-fry the carrots and beef, and heat it to 190°C (375°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 20 seconds. Deep-fry the carrots for 2 minutes, until golden and crisp. They will look dry. Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Deep-fry the beef in two batches for about 30 seconds, until crisp and unattractively dark, then remove using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Pour away all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and return the wok to the heat. Add the ginger and garlic and give them a good stir, then pour in the soy sauce, orange juice and rind and rice wine. (Reserve the other half of the orange rind for garnish.) Stir in the honey until it dissolves, then toss in the cooked beef and carrots and the spring onions. Stir over a low heat until the sauce becomes thick and sticky, then serve with steamed rice, if liked. Garnish with strips of spring onion and orange rind.

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