Ellen's Crispy Beef Strips

Every time I make these Crispy Beef Strips, I think of Ellen Lew. Ellen was a renowned Savannah caterer, writer, and recipe developer in the early 90's. As a third generation Chinese-American, she came to Savannah during the early 80's, where grocers thought her crazy asking for strange green stuff like cilantro.

She had great love for cooking and even more so, teaching people how to cook. I was young and just married when I met her back 17 years ago. As a novice herb farmer selling fresh herbs and edible flowers to local restaurants and caterers, I was so excited to meet this famous caterer. Her love for cooking was contagious and soon I was cooking along side of her. She gave me the last copy of her cookbook: Ellen Lew's Far East Favorites and said that good recipes are meant to be shared. I agree.

Ellen was so gracious and taught me to love cooking, but above all, the people you cook for. With much encouragement from her, I began my own catering company. Five years after I met Ellen, she was in a tragic car accident and I lost my most beloved mentor and friend.

This recipe is from her cookbook, well loved and tattered now. I will feature her recipes from time to time. I know she would love for you to have them.

To slice beef thinly, flash freeze the meat for about 2-3 hours in the freezer.

Pour the soy marinade over sliced beef and cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (for ribeye, longer for flank) for flavors to meld.

After draining the marinade, dip slices of meat flour, egg wash, then finally Panko bread crumb.

Deep fry the pieces until bread crumb is light brown. Drain on a wire rack.

Serve over thinly sliced red leaf lettuce and garnish with green onions. Makes a beautiful appetizer. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Ellen's Crispy Beef Strips
Makes about 16-18 beef strips

1 lb rib eye steak (or flank steak), cut into strips 1/4" thick
1/3 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. dry sherry or dry white wine
4 Tablespoon sugar
1 shallot, minced very finely or pulsed in food processor
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated with Mircoplane
1 C. flour, all purpose
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C Panko bread crumbs
2 C vegetable oil for frying

Combine soy sauce, dry sherry, sugar, shallot, ginger in a small bowl. Marinate steak slices with soy marinade for about 2 hours (for flank, marinade 4 hours), covered and refrigerated.

Drain marinade from steak slices in colander.

Dip steak slices in flour, then into beaten egg, and then final coat with Panko bread crumbs.

Heat oil in cast iron pot until temperature reaches 375 degrees F. Fry steak slices until bread crumbs are light brown and crispy. Do not over cook. Drain fried steak pieces on wire rack until you finish frying the remaining beef strips.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or over finely shredded greens as a first course.


  1. Great photos, this goes on my to make list for sure. Lovely site.

  2. Beautiful pictures as always . . .

  3. Wow. What a touching story. I wish I could have met your dear friend and mentor.

    This dish looks fantastic. Is there a non-alcoholic substitute for the wine?

    P.S. Thank you for the encouraging comment you left on my blog.

  4. Memoria, you can try using apple cider vinegar, perhaps? I have not tried it myself, so I am not sure.

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