Rainbow steak in lettuce cups

Rainbow steak in lettuce cups

Man Food
Billy Law

I know it’s terribly uncool, but I do love deep-fried dishes from suburban Chinese takeaways — my biggest weakness being those crispy strips of rainbow steak coated in a sweet, sticky sauce. This recipe is my take on the rainbow steak, served in a lettuce wrap like a san choy bow. Best Chinese finger food ever!


Quantity Ingredient
500g rump steak
2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground sichuan peppercorns
pinch salt
60g cornflour
oil, for frying
1 carrot, julienned
2 spring onions, finely julienned
pinch sesame seeds, toasted
1 iceberg lettuce, leaves separated


Quantity Ingredient
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
80ml tomato ketchup
60ml shaoxing rice wine
55g sugar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Cut the steak into very thin, long slices across the grain, about 5 mm thick. Then cut each slice into thin julienne strips. You can freeze the steak for 30 minutes before cutting to make slicing a little easier.
  2. Mix the rice wine, soy sauce, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, peppercorns and salt together in a bowl, add the beef strips and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Put the cornflour in a shallow bowl. In batches, toss the beef strips in the cornflour until well coated, shake off the excess flour and place on a clean tray ready for frying.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over a medium–high heat, add the carrot and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until softened. Transfer the carrot to a plate and set aside.
  5. Pour more oil into the wok to about 5 cm deep and bring to smoking hot over a high heat. In small batches, add the beef strips to the wok and separate them with wooden chopsticks to stop them clumping together. Fry for 2–3 minutes until very crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.
  6. To make the sauce, carefully pour most of the oil out of the wok, leaving about 2 tablespoons behind, add the garlic and fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Mix all the remaining sauce ingredients together with 2 tablespoons water and pour into the wok, stir and simmer until the sauce is reduced to a very thick consistency, about 5 minutes Add the beef strips, stir and toss until evenly coated, then add the carrot and spring onion, and stir to mix well. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and transfer to a serving plate. Place the beef strips in the lettuce cups and serve.
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