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Crispy chilli beef in a pan

Crispy Chilli Beef

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Crispy chilli beef. A Chinese takeaway favourite – crunchy beef in a light coating of sauce which is both tangy and sweet… and of course a little spicy!

The default recipe serves 4


Units Scale

for the sauce…

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce

for the beef…

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 120g / 1 cup cornflour, well seasoned (see note 2)
  • 400g sirloin steak, thinly sliced into strips (see note 3)
  • 500ml vegetable oil (see note 4)

for the stirfry…

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thick slices
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped (see note 5)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. Mix together all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and then set aside.
  2. Beat the egg in a large bowl and then mix in the soy sauce and sesame oil for the beef and season well with salt and pepper. 
  3. Add the beef to the bowl and mix it together well with your hands until the beef is well coated. 
  4. Add the cornflour to a large bowl and then add the beef into the flour. Mix it together well until the beef is coated and so the pieces are no longer stuck together.
  5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan until it reaches around 180C/350F. (see note 6 & 7).
  6. Cook the beef in the oil until it has turned a deep golden colour and turned beautifully crispy – around 4-5 minutes. You will likely have to work in 2-3 batches to make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. 
  7. Remove the cooked beef with a slotted spoon and set it aside on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil. 
  8. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to slightly caramelise at the edges. 
  9. Add the peppers to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and toss through the for 1 minute. 
  10. Reduce the heat to medium-low and then add the sauce and allow to bubble for around 30 seconds.
  11. Add the beef to the pan and toss everything together for 2-3 minutes. 
  12. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve.


  1. When cooking anything stir-fried, fast and hot is the way to go. Make sure you have everything prepped and ready before you start cooking so nothing slows you down as you go through the steps!
  2. This will look like a lot of cornflour. Fear not, this is the best way to get a super-crispy result, and only about half the flour will end up being used.
  3. You can place the beef in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before cutting to make it easier to slice into thin strips. Also, slice it against the grain (so your knife is cutting at a 90 degree angle to the lines that you will see running down the meat). This will result in a more tender result. Make sure to slice any large pieces of fat from the outside off.
  4. You can use any oil that has a high smoke point – sunflower oil or canola/rapeseed oil also work well. 
  5. If you don’t have any fresh chillis then you can use 1-2 tsp chilli flakes instead, depending on how hot you would like the dish.
  6. When frying, make sure the pan is large enough so the oil doesn’t fill more than halfway up the sides to prevent splashes and burns! 
  7. To test if your oil is hot enough, you can either drop a little of the cornflour coating into it and if immediately bubbles up then that’s an indication. You may also use wooden chopsticks or even the end of a wooden spoon. If it fizzes up then the oil is good to go.
  8. This recipe is best eaten straight away, as it will go soggy if reheated or frozen. However, you can safely freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven rather than the microwave to try and retain some crispiness.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 575
  • Fat: 39g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Protein: 25g

Keywords: chinese, dinner, indulgent, beef, asian, stirfry