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Rainbow Beef on a plate
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4.78 from 9 votes

Crispy Rainbow Beef (牛柳丝)

Rainbow Beef is a classic Chinese takeout dish fried until crispy then coated in a sweet and sticky glaze. It's so finger lickin' good!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Cantonese, Chinese
Servings: 5
Calories: 1185kcal
Author: Jeannette


  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb steak (cut into 5mm / 0.2" thick strips; see notes)
  • 1/4 US cup toasted white sesame seeds (or to preference)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and cut into strips)
  • 1 onion (cut into strips)
  • 2 capsicum (cut into strips)
  • 6 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 6 tbsp HP sauce (or worcestershire sauce)
  • 65 mL / 0.27 US cup vinegar (or to taste)
  • 70 g / 0.15 lb sugar (or to taste)
  • 45 mL / 0.2 US cup water
  • 135 g / 0.3 lb potato starch
  • 135 g / 0.3 lb corn starch
  • 2 tbsp oil (for the sauce)
  • cooking oil (for frying)


  • In a wok or saucepan, heat up 2 tbsp oil on medium heat and pour in the tomato sauce, HP sauce, sugar, vinegar and water. Cook for 2 minutes or until well combined, then set aside.
  • Mix the potato and corn starch well, then coat the strips in the starch mixture and shake off any excess.
  • Heat up a wok of oil on medium-high heat and fry the beef in small batches until crispy. Leave the cooked strips in a colander to rest.
    Note: Use enough oil to have each strip submerged.
  • In a separate saucepan or wok, add 1 US cup oil in on high heat. When hot, fry the carrots for 20 seconds and transfer to a plate.
  • Repeat the previous step with the onions and again with the capsicum.
  • Heat up the sauce and add the fried steak, onions, capsicum and carrots. Mix well.
  • Add the toasted sesame seeds as a garnish and serve immediately as is!


  • The ideal cut for this is the tenderloin. Here are some alternatives if it isn't available: rump, sirloin, flank or skirt.
  • This recipe uses HP sauce, which we get from our supermarkets. If that's not available, then substitute it for worcestershire sauce. Just keep in mind that it may not come out as thick.
  • Our recipe uses an equal mix of corn and potato starch. You can use both or just one, depending on your preference and what is available.
  • Double fry the strips. There's a reason why we always suggest frying our Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken and Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings a second time - it's to ensure everything stays extra crispy for hours. Rainbow Beef is no different!
  • Coat the sauce on just before serving. To avoid a soggy dish, gently heat up the sauce and stir it into the strips just before it's to be eaten.
  • Use a large wok and fry a few at a time. To ensure every piece has enough time and space to get crispy, make sure the wok isn't overcrowded.


Calories: 1185kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 83g | Fat: 62g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 244mg | Sodium: 531mg | Potassium: 1736mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 3682IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 9mg