Chinese Chili Oil Challenge

spicy showdown

Last week a friend from work gave me a jar of chili oil, straight from one of those eclectic grocery stores you only find in Chinatown. He put it on my desk and said: make something with it. Seems harmless enough, right? But in Boris’s Serbian accent, the statement seemed more provoking. Almost ominous. Like he was daring me to use it.

Ha! Challenge accepted.

Thankfully, a portion of the label is in English, so I know the jar has chili, canola oil, peanuts, something called prickly ash, and other things. I love spicy foods, but wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into. I definitely didn’t want steam to come out my ears like some cartoon character. So, I decided to counter-act the chili with some meat. I thought sirloin tips would stand up nicely, and I was right. After marinating for a bit, the steak had just the right amount of heat. I think I could have even used a little more chili oil but caution is good when you’re experimenting with unknown foods. To go along with my sirloin tips I made a homemade version of one of my favorite take-out dishes – stir fried green beans.

Spicy Sirloin Tips with Stir Fried Green Beans
For the beef:
– 1 lb of boneless sirloin steak, cut into strips
– 1 teaspoon of Chinese chili oil
– ¼ cup of low-sodium soy sauce
– 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
– 2 tablespoons of lime juice
– Lime zest from half a lime
– Cooking spray

For the green beans:
– 5 tablespoons of vegetable (or peanut) oil
– ¾ to 1 lb of green beans, rinsed & ends removed
– ½ of a red bell pepper, sliced thin
– ½ teaspoon of Chinese chili oil
– 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
– 1 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauced

Start by making the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk together the chili oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, lime juice and zest. Place the sirloin tips into baking dish or large shallow bowl and cover with the marinade. Let stand at room temperature for 40 to 45 minutes, flipping the beef halfway through. Heat a grill pan on medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Add the sirloin tips and grill until cooked to your liking. While the tips are grilling, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the marinade reduces and thickens slightly. When cooked, plate the tips and cover with a few spoonfuls of the sauce.

better than take-out

For the green beans, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and the red pepper and fry, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the beans have wilted and slightly browned. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet, and then add the chili oil, soy sauce and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Return the beans and peppers to the skillet, toss in the sauce and plate.

You can serve your spicy sirloin tips and green beans with brown rice or noodles.

4 Comments on “Chinese Chili Oil Challenge”

  1. Caroline says:

    Prickly ash?? I’m gonna have to Google that, haha. Anyways, I think you definitely succeeded with this challenge, the meal looks delicious!

  2. What, your coworkers buy you stuff? Man you are lucky. Oh and this looks awesome. But wait they seriously don’t make you pay them back. I’m feeling so unloved.

  3. billpeeler says:

    That looks delicious – good call on the sirloin tips!

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