In spite of the fact that this dish “OK BEEF” was created specifically for Western palates in the UK, it is now a staple of Cantonese restaurants and takeout all over the world.
I remember this dish from my childhood with a lot of fondness. One of my best friends lived just a few blocks from our restaurant. Every night, he would come in and order OK Beef and fried rice, so we always had time to catch up. Even though this recipe was made in the UK for western tastes, it is enjoyed all over the world and has become a firm favorite on the menus of many Cantonese restaurants.
- groundnut oil for deep-frying, plus ½ tbsp
- 1 egg, beaten
- 340g (12oz) beef fillet, thinly sliced
- 100g (1 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- For the OK sauce
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 125ml (½ cup) tomato ketchup
- 4 tbsp brown sauce
- 100g (½ cup) white or brown sugar
- 1½ tsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed with 2 tbsp water
How to make OK BEEF?
- Place all the sauce ingredients (except the cornflour) in a wok and heat
gently, stirring until it starts to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a few
minutes. Pour in the cornflour mixture, stirring until thickened, then remove
from the heat and set to one side.
Heat enough oil to deep-fry the beef in a large saucepan or wok to 180°C
In a large bowl, massage the egg into the beef slices. Tip the cornflour onto
a large plate and coat the beef strips a few at a time, making sure each piece
is covered and shaking off any excess.
Carefully lower the coated beef in batches into the hot oil and deep-fry for
2–3 minutes, or until the beef is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a wire
rack or a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
Heat the ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick wok and fry the onion until
tender, then add the fried beef and the sauce. Mix thoroughly to coat each
piece, then transfer to a serving plate and serve.