It's time to start flexing those chewing muscles. Taste of Honolulu, the annual stuff-your-face extravaganza, takes place next week.
Taste chef shares
If you've never partaken, this is how it works: Dozens of restaurants, plus beer and wine distributors, are set up all around that lawn area surrounding Honolulu Hale. You pay $3 to enter and then buy scrip that you exchange for food and drink. Proceeds benefit Easter Seals Hawaii.
The dishes are generally scaled-down servings of restaurant specialties, so you can try a lot. Restaurants participating include Brew Moon, Chai's Island Bistro, Eastern Garden, Prince Court, Tony Roma's, the Willows and Golden Dragon.
It's a tradition with Taste of Honolulu that in the week before the event one of the participating chefs answers a request for a reader of this column.
This year, Steven Chiang of Golden Dragon in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, came up with an answer to David Smith's quest: "I've been looking for a good but simple at-home recipe for orange beef for quite a while now," Smith wrote.
"The ones I've tried so far are not very 'orangey,' and I've passed on trying a few I found, since they appeared too complex for a home chef."
The only tricky thing about this traditional recipe is that to get the beef nice and crispy, you have to dip it in hot oil several times. Other than that, it's pretty straightforward. The orange flavor is meant to be subtle; if you want something more in-your-face, increase the amount of tangerine peel.
The dish is a personal recipe of Chiang's and is not on the restaurant's menu, but you can sample his General Tsao's Chicken at Taste.
Coat beef with the beaten egg. Combine cornstarch and flour. Dust beef with cornstarch mixture.
Tangerine Peel Beef8 ounces lean beef, sliced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying
1/2 teaspoon dried tangerine peel, crumbled (see notes)
1/2 teaspoon dried chilies, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon shredded green onion (white part only)
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing (white cooking wine)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Heat oil in a wok. Place beef in a wire-mesh strainer and plunge into hot oil for 30 seconds. Remove, reheat oil, then repeat the process until the meat is very crisp, about 5 times. Drain and set aside.
Pour out most of the oil, leaving just enough to coat the wok. Reheat oil and stir-fry the tangerine peel and chilies until they darken. Add seasoning ingredients and continue to stir-fry over moderate heat. Return beef to wok. Stir-fry until all the liquid evaporates and meat is dry, crisp and glazed with the seasoning. Serves 4.
Note: Dried tangerine peel and dried chilies are sold in small packages in the Asian section of supermarkets, in Asian specialty markets and in Chinatown.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 285 calories, 20 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein.*
Dates: June 28 to 30
Taste of Honolulu
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. June 28, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 29 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 30
Place: Honolulu Civic Center grounds
Information: Call 536-1015 or visit the Web site www.eastersealshawaii.org
Food Stuffs: Morsels
Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
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Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.