Chinese New Year is upon us! Time for firecrackers, dancing dragons, cornstarch and red everything! Being a connoisseur of Chinese Christmas takeout, not to mention an avid customer at late-night Chinese food joints, I will be celebrating the year of the goat with tons of greasy eats! If crispy beef, chow mein, Kung pao, and beef and broccoli made a baby, it would be this recipe. Not traditional in any sense, but definitely great for celebrating. Happy Chinese New Year!
Kung Pao Chili Oil
Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles
For the Kung Pao chili oil, heat the canola and sesame oil over high heat for 2 minutes in a small sauce pan. Turn the heat off and immediately add the Sichuan peppercorns. They will sizzle at first. Let steep for 2 hours. Remove the Sichuan peppercorns from the oil and discard. If you like that strange mouth-numbing sensation from those peppercorns, just leave them in! (Personal preference is to remove them.) Add the grated ginger, garlic, and chili flakes to the oil. Turn the heat back on to medium-low. Fry for 2 minutes once you see that it has started to sizzle. Don’t let the garlic burn! Turn the heat off and let steep for 15 minutes. Combine the chopped peanuts, red hot long pepper, Chinese 5-Spice, and sesame seeds in small Mason jar (or bowl) and pour the chili oil over top.
For the crispy beef and broccoli noodles, cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just cooked through. Drain into a colander and immediately run cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking. Set aside. Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat the canola oil in a wok, or large frying pan, over high heat. When the oil is hot. Dredge the pieces of beef in the cornstarch, shake off any excess and fry for 4-5 minutes until the outer edges are golden brown and crispy. Note: do this in batches! Don’t crowd the beef in the oil or else it won’t fry properly and will become gummy. Add more oil to the wok as needed between batches and make sure to dredge the beef in the cornstarch just before placing it in the oil. Remove the beef to drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack or plate. Season with salt. Drain out any excess oil left in the wok after frying. Return the wok to the stove and turn the heat down to medium-high. Add the broccolini to the hot wok with ¼ cup of water. Toss frequently. Once the broccolini has cooked through, with a slight crunch, and the water has evaporated, remove it from the wok. Immediately add the sesame oil to the hot wok. Add in the ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to the wok. Once the sauce is bubbling, add the noodles, broccolini and sprouts. Toss until everything is warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt. Plate the noodles and broccolini, top with the crispy beef, and drizzle Kung Pao oil over top. Enjoy!