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My beef craving has struck again. Usually it manifests itself as 'Give me steak, rare and bloody!' This time however, it was more 'Give me cow and give me chilli.' Weird. Well, weird for me. For someone else, it's probably an entirely normal desire.

So I poked about for a shredded chilli beef recipe, took to a piece of beef fillet, and procured for myself some extra hot chilli flakes from the Pakistani supermarket at the end of the street. This utterly inauthentic concoction is the result. It fed me. It was almost certainly enough to feed me and a friend. If you want a vegetarian alternative, substitute the beef for tofu and you're away.

I was going to write a long and involved treatise on deep frying here. However, the marvellous anthropod has dedicated an entire node to it. If you've never deep fried before, please go read it now. This recipe will still be here when you get back. If you have deep fried before now, read anthropod's writeup anyway.

Now that's cleared up, are we ready to go?


200g (7oz) beef fillet, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, cut into thin batons (julienne is too fine)
1 large egg
2½tbsp cornflour
½tspn salt
Flavourless oil for frying (I use sunflower)

1 shallot, halved and then finely sliced
2.5cm (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 fat clove garlic, minced
¼tspn dried chilli flakes (mine were extra hot, and this was plenty; adjust according to your tastes)
2tbsp cider vinegar
2tbsp tamari or good soy sauce
1tbsp brown sugar


Begin by whisking together the egg, cornflour, and salt to make a batter.

In a pan suitable for deep frying, or in your deep fat fryer if you have one, heat the oil to 180° Celsius, or hot enough that a cube of bread will turn brown in about a minute.

When the oil is at temperature, coat the beef in the batter and drop into the oil one strip at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. It might be tempting to dump it all in at once, but it'll stick together in a soggy mass that's a waste of good beef.

The beef will take approximately two minutes to cook to a golden brown colour. Remove it and drain thoroughly to stop it from going soggy.

There should be enough batter left to coat the carrots. Deep fry those for two minutes, too, or until a golden brown. Remove and drain well.

Take a tablespoon of the hot oil and heat it in a wok or large frying pan.

Fry off the shallot, ginger, garlic, and chilli for a minute or two.

Pour in the vinegar and tamari, and mix in the brown sugar. When everything is combined, tip in the beef and carrots, heat through quickly, and you're done.

Serve it with rice and a spritz of lime juice.

(My lips are still tingling from the chilli and my beef craving is sated.)

Music to cook to: The Stage Names, Okkervil River

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