Another Sichuan dish, and I make no apologies for that. This is one of my favourite things to order when I go for Sichuan food. Think a much more tender, flavourful version of beef jerky or biltong. It is scarily moreish (don’t ask how quickly this got demolished), and even though it is a labour-intensive dish (it is one for the weekend), it is most definitely worth it.
Again, this is a recipe taken from Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop. Two amendments I made were to add fresh coriander leaves to garnish, as I love the combination, and omitting the chilli oil, primarily because I don’t like many commercial chilli oils but am too lazy to make my own.
We had this as a form of starter, a prelude to a gorgeous meal of red braised pork, dry fried bitter melon and spicy cucumber salad. A veritable Sichuan feast.
Hot and numbing beef – taken from Sichuan Cookery by Fuchsia Dunlop
Serves 4 (if you were eking out with other dishes – to be honest, you could easily demolish this between two)
500g lean beef (I used the H-bone cut, but this was what I had lying around – Dunlop specifies braising steak will do)
Oil for deep frying
For the initial simmering:
1 star anise
Small piece of cinnamon/cassia bark
For the marinade:
2tsp shaoxing wine
4 spring onions, white parts only
25g piece of ginger, unpeeled
For the braising:
1tbsp dark soy
25g piece of ginger, unpeeled
3 spring onions, white parts only
1tsp ground roasted sichuan pepper
1-2tsp ground chillies/chilli flakes
2tsp sesame oil
2tsp toasted sesame seeds
Very small bunch of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1. Bring the beef to a boil in a pan of water along with the star anise and cinnamon/cassia bark. Turn the heat down, and simmer until the beef is cooked. Remove the beef from the pan and reserve the cooking water.
2. Slice the beef along the grain into 1cm slices. Then cut the slices across the grain into 1cm wide strips. If some of the pieces are a bit long, halve them.
3. Slightly crush the ginger and spring onions with a back of a knife blade, and then chop each into 3-4 pieces. Place in a bowl with the shaoxing wine and salt, add the beef and mix to combine. Then, leave for 30 minutes or so to marinade.
4. Heat the oil for deep frying in a deep pan. Add the beef and deep fry for around 4 minutes, until the pieces are reddish-brown colour and crisp looking. Drain on kitchen paper.
5. Heat 2tbsp oil in a wok, and heat until smoking. Add the ginger and spring onions and stir fry for around 30 seconds until the oil smells fragrant. Add 500ml of the reserved beef cooking water, the soy, sugar and salt. Add the beef, bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down. Simmer the beef for around 30mins, or until the beef has absorbed all of the liquid, leaving just a syrupy glaze coating the beef.
6. Place the beef on a dish, and stir in the dressing ingredients, and then sprinkle over the coriander leaves and sesame seeds.
7. Can be eaten straight away, but also tastes great at room temperature.
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