Sichuan Boiled Beef
I am a big fan of traditional Chinese food. There are countless varieties of Chinese dishes - the texture, flavour and taste, form and shape, style on cooking techniques - tracing all the way back to ancient China. Different provinces in China have their own cuisines, style and tastes.
If there is one Chinese cuisine you have to single out, what would it be?
For me, it has to be Sichuan food because I enjoy eating food with different layers of textures and flavours dancing happily in my mouth. As a Malaysian-born Chinese growing in Penang, I am accustomed to eating food with many different flavours using different spices in dishes. This particular Sichuan dish, called "Boiled Beef", is literally translated from its Chinese name, "Shui Zhu Niu Rou". "Shui Zhu" refers to the type of cooking technique, which is "boil", and "niu rou" refers to beef. If you don't eat beef, you can substitute this recipe with pork or fish.
This recipe has the elements of a traditional Sichuan dish. The flavours come from the trinity of Chinese flavours - ginger, garlic and spring onion. The Sichuan flavours come from dried chillies, Sichuan peppercorns and Sichuan chilli bean paste "doubanjiang". The beef is thinly sliced and then marinated to tenderise. It is cooked by using the boiling technique. Since they are thinly sliced, it takes only a few minutes to cook so they are still tender and moist. The dried chillies and peppercorns are drizzle with hot oil to bring out the aroma infusing into the dish. This is one perfect dish that you want to add to your cooking repertoire to impress your family and friends.
Prepare and marinade the beef
Prepare and cut the green leafy vegetables, ginger and garlic
Prepare and fry the dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns
Make the sauce and cook the beef
Plate the food
How to make
Slice the beef thinly. Marinate with 1 egg white, a sprinkle of salt and 1 tablespoon of corn starch. Let the beef marinade for 20-30 minutes while preparing the other ingredients. If you prefer, you can also prepare and marinate the beef overnight.
Peel the ginger and garlic skins. Then roughly chop and mince the ginger and garlic until fine.
Discard the roots of the spring onions. Lightly bruise the lower halves of the spring onions. Then slice diagonally into 2-3 inches section. Thinly slice the top halves lengthwise as a garnish.
Discard the roots of the coriander leaves. Roughly chop the coriander leaves as a garnish.
Wash the lettuce leaves and then cut into large bite pieces.
Sort the Sichuan peppercorns and separate the husks from the seeds and gritty bits. Discard the seeds and gritty bits. Use the husks only.
Lightly fry the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillies. Remove and drain excess oil using a kitchen paper towel. Using a spice grinder or a knife, roughly chop the dried chillies and peppercorns.
Using the same oil that was used to fry the dried chillies and peppercorns, toss in the soybean shoots (if using). Lightly fry for 20 seconds. Remove and set aside. In the same oil, toss in the lettuce leaves and lower halves of spring onions. Lightly fry for 20 seconds. Remove and set aside.
Add more oil into the same wok. Once the oil is hot, toss in the chopped ginger and garlic. Add 3 teaspoons of Sichuan chilli bean paste. Fry until fragrant for 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of beef stock. Bring the stock to a boil. Once the stock is rapidly boiling, turn off the heat.
Add the marinated beef. Spread the beef slices out so they are not sticking together. Turn the heat back up and cook the beef for 3-5 minutes. The timing depends on how much beef you have added and how thin the slices to cook. Do not overcook the beef. Turn the heat off once the beef is cooked.
First, add the green vegetable onto a serving bowl.
Next, add the soybean shoots if using around the side of the leafy green vegetable.
Add the beef on top and then pour the sauce over the dish.
Add the crushed dried chillies and peppercorns on top of the beef.
Heat up 1 cup of cooking oil. Once the oil is smoking hot, pour the oil over the dried chillies and peppercorns to bring out the aroma infusing into the dish.
Garnish with spring onions and coriander leaves.
Serve with a bowl of rice.
350gm - 400gm of sirloin beef
3 spring onions
3 sprigs of coriander leaves
1 cup of soybean shoots or sprouts (optional)
1 bunch of coarse lettuce leaves
3 inches of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
3 teaspoons of Sichuan chilli bean paste "doubanjiang"
2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns
8-10 dried chillies (depend on how spicy you like your dish)
beef stock (or chicken stock)