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Panda Express Beijing Beef (copycat) Recipe


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     Panda Express Beijing Beef (copycat)

Category   Entrees - Maindishes
Sub Category   None
Servings   4

1 pound flank steak
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2/3 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
l 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 small yellow onion
1 large bell pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 to 4 cups canola oil, for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan

The problem with adding sauce to fried food is that the wet sauce makes the crunchy fried food not so crunchy. Panda Express manages to keep the crispy beef in Beijing Beef crispy even though it may be sitting for over 20 minutes in the sauce on its way to a hungry you. My early attempts at hacking my favorite dish at the massive Chinese food chain all resulted in gummy, soggy beef pieces that were more like flat dumplings than the delicious, crunchy strips of joy they were meant to be.
Then finally on one batch I decided to fry the coated beef for much longer than I intuitively felt it should be cookedresulting in dark browning on the cornstarch coating and an even darker piece of meat beneath it. I anticipated a beef jerky experience, but when I took a bite I found it to be delicious. It wasnt tough and chewy as I expected it to be. And when this seemingly overcooked beef was stirred into the sauce, it stayed crispy until served just like the real thing. Now with the soggy beef problem solved weve finally got a good hack for Panda Express Beijing Beef.
1. Slice the flank steak across the grain into thin, bite-size slices that are 1/8 inch thick. 2. Prepare the marinade by whisking 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch into the egg whites in a medium bowl until there are no lumps and foam has formed. Whisk in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the beef and marinate for 2 hours in your fridge. 3. Make the sauce by combining the pineapple juice, vinegar sugar ketchup, chili sauce soy sauce and canola oil in a 2-quart saucepan. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add this slurry to the pan. Turn the heat to medium and heat the mixture until it begins to bubble, stirring often. Once the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes, turn off the heat and cool.Slice the onion and bell pepper into bite- size pieces. Place the cornstarch in a medium bowl.To cook the beef, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees F in a wok or large saucepan.Dredge the beef slices in the cornstarch until well-coated and arrange them on a plate.
7. Working in batches, gently slide the beef slices into the hot oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the beef browns and becomes very crispy on the outside. Use tongs or a spider to remove the beef to a plate or a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat until all of the beef is cooked.To complete the dish, heat a clean wok or sauté pan over high heat.Add just a little canola oil to coat the surface of the wok or pan. Add the vegetables and stir fry for a minute, then add the sauce. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender.Add the flank steak pieces to the pan and stir until all of the beef is coated with sauce. Serve the dish immediately with rice on the side.

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