While citrus are available year round, many varieties are at their peak of flavor in winter. Among them is one of my favorites, clementine oranges. These little “cuties”, at their best right now, are super sweet, juicy, naturally seedless, and easy to peel. Clementines are delicious on their own or in desserts, but I think they are even more sensational in savory dishes. Their sugary, tart flavor compliments the salty and spicy notes of this delicious stir-fry.
This recipe should really be considered more of a guide, as it is very adaptable, based on what you have on hand and what you’re in the mood to eat. Tangerines or oranges may be substituted for the clementines. All sorts of vegetables may be added: broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, green beans, bok choy, or green onions. The level of spiciness is also easily adjusted to suit your taste. I don’t enjoy spicy foods, but I found the slight kick from the Sriracha sauce to be just right. Feel free to add red pepper flakes or even red chillies, for some real heat. The tri-tip was so tender and the combination of sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy flavors worked very well in the sauce. Warning: This recipe results in a generous amount of sauce, so be sure to have some extra steamed rice around to soak up every last drop.
Spicy Clementine Beef Stir-Fry
Yields 6 servings
3 tablespoons lite soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds tri-tip, skirt or flank steak, cut in thin strips on the bias
2 tablespoons Shaoxing Rice Wine (dry sherry or white wine are good substitutes)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey (I added 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon Sriracha chili sauce, or more, to taste (Sambal Oelek is a good substitute)
red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
3 tablespoons lite soy sauce
1/3 cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (tangerines and navel oranges are good substitutes)
2 clementines, for zest
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach (broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, bok choy green onions or other vegetables may be added to or substituted for spinach)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the lite soy sauce and cornstarch. Add beef strips and mix well. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
To make the sauce, whisk the sherry, hoisin, honey, chili sauce, red pepper flakes (if using), soy sauce, clementine juice, and the zest of one clementine until completely combined. Set aside.
In large pan or wok, heat oil on high and brown beef in small batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a platter. Set aside.
Add more oil in the pan, if necessary. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and cook until reduced and thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Add all the beef back into the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add spinach (or other vegetables) and cook just until spinach is incorporated and beef is heated through. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
Garnish with more clementine zest and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
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