Tangerine Beef

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 20 mins

| Total Time: 30 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Eating this delicious Sichuan-style Tangerine Beef dish just might bring you good luck. In many regions of China, the word for 'tangerine' sounds very similar to the word for luck. During Chinese New Year, when ripe tangerines abound, you'll find people gifting tangerines and restaurants cooking tangerine beef. After you try our easy Tangerine Beef recipe, you'll see why!

Dried tangerine peels add a nutty, subtly bitter flavor and our recipe calls for adding fresh tangerine (or mandarin) juice to provide a refreshingly tangy-citrus flavor. Our spicy tangerine seasoning uses freshly dried and ground tangerine peels along with crushed red pepper and ginger powder. One of the first steps is to rehydrate the dried peels in the tangerine juice. This not only softens the peels but infuses the tangerine flavor throughout the dish as the peels soak up the juice. We like to cook a few thinly sliced fresh peels as well which add zest and color to the dish. Scrape of the white pith on the back of the peels as the pith is bitter. Citrus peels are also high in fiber and antioxidants like vitamin C.


  • 1 pound of flank or skirt steak

  • 2 tangerines (or mandarin oranges)

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger

  • 2 scallions, sliced into 1 inch diagonals

  • 1.5 tbsp of Piquant Post Spicy Tangerine blend

  • 1 tsp Piquant Post Chinese Five Spice blend

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cornstarch (for dredge + marinade)

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

  • 1 fresno or jalapeño pepper, seeded & sliced (optional)

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp canola (or other vegetable) oil (divided)

  • Salt to taste (optional)


Why dredge the beef in cornstarch? One technique in Chinese cooking is called “velveting” the meat. Marinading meat (including chicken, lamb) in cornstarch and oil is velveting and protects the meat from burning on the extremely hot metal of a wok. It forms a protective coating to seal in juices and keeps your meat juicy, flavorful, and tender.

Beef cooks very quickly in a stir-fry so if you prefer your meat Med or Medium Rare, watch the cooking times very carefully.

You'll see some slices of fresh tangerine peel in our photos. They add just a little extra tangerine flavor to random bites. Simply scrape the pith (white part off the back of the peels and slice into matchsticks before adding to the stir-fry.

Canola oil is preferred since it has a higher smoke point than many oils. If you only have olive oil, instead heat the pan on Med or max, Med-High and watch it carefully so as not to smoke up your kitchen.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.


Juice tangerines (with a juicer or by hand) and reserve 1 peel. Strain seeds and pulp. Should produce about 1/3-1/2 cup juice. Add Spicy Tangerine and 5 Spice blends to tangerine juice, stir, and set aside to soak for 10 mins. (Note: if you want to cook fresh peels, take a knife and gently scrape the white pith from the back of the peel then cut the peel into 10-20 matchstick-size slices. Set aside.)

Slice steak across the grain into finger-sized strips. Whisk together 1 tsp oil and 1 tbsp cornstarch in a bowl, add steak, and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup cornstarch to a new bowl. Dredge steak to coat all pieces. Pre-heat wok or pan on Med-High with 1/4 cup oil.

When oil shimmers, add steak in an even layer and cook for 1 min. Flip and cook for 1 min, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Meat should be browned, not fully cooked. Turn heat to Med.

Drain all but ~1 tbsp of oil from pan. Add the minced ginger, dried tangerine peels / juice, fresh tangerine peels (optional) and sliced peppers (optional). Stir for 30 secs then add garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce. Cook 1 min. Add 1 tbsp of water to pan then add back the beef, stirring for 2 mins. Add in scallions then remove from heat. Serve over hot rice or with steamed veggies.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Vegetarians can substitute tofu and / or vegetables for the beef  to make a delicious stir fry.

  • Don't have access to fresh tangerines or mandarines? Try using fresh squeezed oranges. 

  • Don't have time to make fresh-squeezed juice? No problem. Try using tangerine or orange juice from the store.

  • We’re still exploring alternative uses for our Spicy Tangerine peels. Once the peels are soaked  in tangerine juice, use them in just about anything from breakfast (pancakes) to deserts (on top of ice cream). We tried the reconstituted tangerine peels over plain greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast (see adjacent pic).

  • Don’t forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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