Whenever you move, be it down the road, across the state, to another county or even country, there will always be little things that you miss for your old 'locals'.
One thing I've not yet found a decent (and by that I mean exactly the same as the one I like from the Chinese take away place opposite my old house) substitute for Crispy Chilli Beef.
Thin slices of beef, coated and fried until crispy then doused in a sweet chilli sauce that's not too firey is what Chinese takeout should be to me!
Ingredients: Serves 4 with rice (why not try egg fried rice? Recipe on HLTC soon!)
1 lb/450g lean beef steak- I used a Top Round (US) Rump/Topside/Silverside (UK) steak though any un-marbled thin frying steak will work well
About 1/2 cup cornflour
Vegetable oil for frying
For the sauce-
2 cloves garlic
Dried chilli flakes- the quantity will depend on heat preference, I used less than 1/4 of a teaspoon for a gentle zingy heat
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper
Start by making your sweet chilli sauce, it will take some time to prepare, about an hour as it needs time to reduce slowly so as not to burn. Finely mince the garlic and mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, pop on a medium low heat to reduce slowly. Because of the high sugar content, using a high heat runs the risk of burning the chilli as the sugar becomes too hot. You want the sauce to reduce by two thirds, to a thick savoury syrup.
If your steak is more than 1 inch/1 & 1/5cm thick give it a bit of a bash with a rolling pin, sandwiched in some clingfilm or baking paper, until it's thinned out. Slice the steak into strands that are no more than 1 inch/ & 1/5cm wide and deep and not more than 4 inches/10cm long.
When the sauce is prepared, season the steak with pepper and douse with cornflour. Only do this when you are ready to cook it as the juice of the steak will make the flour sticky and it won't crisp up in the oil.
Heat the oil in a deep sided frying pan to a medium high heat. Fry the beef until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towel to soak up the excess oil, then pour over the sweet chilli sauce and serve immediately.