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Chinese-style crispy beef salad

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall / 03 March 2016

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe for Chinese-style crispy beef salad is perfect for using up leftover roast beef after your Sunday roast.

Chinese-style crispy beef salad
Turn leftover roast beef into this Chinese-style crispy beef salad

Cooking time

20 minutes




For the crispy beef

  • 250–400g roast beef, the rarer the better
  • Vegetable or groundnut oil, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
  • A little very finely grated orange zest
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • Juice of ½ orange

For the salad

  • Few crisp lettuce leaves, such as romaine (or even the much-maligned iceberg), finely shredded
  • 1 carrot, julienned or grated
  • ½ small cucumber, seeds scooped out, then cut into thin batons
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, slightly on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

To finish

  • Handful of sesame seeds, lightly toasted if preferred
  • Sprigs of coriander (optional)


This take-away classic is very easy to make at home with a few handfuls of leftover roast beef – a little really does go a long way when you ramp up the seasoning and spices.

First make the sauce. Put all the ingredients into a small pan, simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened, then set aside.

Cut the beef into strips, 3–4mm thick. Heat a 2–3cm depth of oil in a wok or a deep saucepan – the fat will bubble up when you add the beef, so don’t use a shallow pan. Heat the oil to 180°C, or until a cube of dry white bread dropped in turns golden in just under a minute.

Sift the cornflour and five-spice powder, if using, onto a plate. Toss the beef strips in the cornflour until well coated on all sides.

Fry the beef in a couple of batches to avoid crowding the pan. Lower into the hot oil and fry until golden and crisp, which should only take a couple of minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain. Let the oil come back up to temperature before adding the second batch of meat to the pan.

Mix the orange zest with the flaky sea salt and sprinkle over the beef.

For the salad, toss the vegetables together with the rice wine vinegar.

Pile the salad and crispy beef onto individual plates. Trickle on the sauce and add a scattering of sesame seeds. Garnish with coriander if you have some to hand.

Tips and swaps

Spicy beef and peppers Add a handful of finely sliced red or yellow peppers, if you have them.

Noodly version Serve the salad over noodles with the sauce trickled over and finished with the sesame seeds and coriander.

Spicy meat garnish You can use strips of roast beef – or pork, chicken or duck – fried like this in a spicy cornflour coating, to finish all manner of salads or soups.

Extract taken from River Cottage Love Your Leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury, £20) Photography © Simon Wheeler.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.