Valentine's Day has taken my slight by surprise this year.
(In other words, I haven't bought my boyfriend anything yet).
Since then, I haven't really given it a second thought. I still need to work out what we're going to eat on Thursday night.
The half hour that we sneak for dinner is almost always my favourite part of the day. I'm not always either the most organised or the most inspired of cooks during the week and so we have a rotation of favourite dishes, most of which can be on the table in less than half an hour and which come together with minimal fuss. This recipe fulfils both those criteria. It is quick and requires no preparation or special ingredients - the tangy (and most likely incredibly inauthentic) sauce is made from store cupboard staples which we almost always have on hand. Apart from that, it's just a little meat (and a little really goes a long way) and a few vegetables thrown in a pan.
Crispy chilli beef
Adapted from a BBC Good Food recipe
Yield: Serves 2
This recipe is from the January 2013 issue of the BBC Good Food magazine. We've made this a few times now and always enjoyed it. The beef doesn't always go as crispy as you might want - it depends really on how hot your oil is. You could also use a bit more oil, as the recipe calls for, to deep fry them a little more but that amount of oil scares me. I've also tweaked the quantities of the sauce slightly so it tastes a little fresher and slightly less acidic.
- 200g (8oz) steak, cut into thin slices (like matchsticks if possible)
- 2 tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon chinese five-spice
- 3 tablespoons flavourless oil
- 4 spring onions, white and green parts separated and chopped finely
- 1 red chilli, finely diced
- 1 red pepper, sliced thinly
- 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3/4 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 2 tablespoons water
- Coat the beef in the corn flour and chinese five-spice and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan until sizzling hot, add the beef and fry for 3 or 4 minutes until crispy.
- Remove from the pan and set aside to drain.
- Pour off a little of the oil and put the the pan back on the heat. add the chopped white spring onions, chilli, pepper, garlic and ginger and heat for a couple of minutes until softened but not browned.
- Mix together the various sauces and the water and pour into the pan. Bubble for a couple of minutes before adding the beef and cook until warm through.
- Serve over rice or noodles, sprinkled with the green parts of the spring onion.