Adapted from Sichuan Cuisine in Both Chinese and English, published in 2010 by the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, Chengdu
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking
1poundbeef steak (such as skirt, flatiron or flank)
4tablespoons(a handful) Chinese braising spices (such as star anise, fennel, cassia bark, bay leaf, cloves, caoguo, sand ginger, etc.)
1inchginger, thinly sliced
2green onions, cut in half
1cuppeanut or canola oil
3tablespoonschili oil with flakes
4teaspoonsSichuan chili flakes
1teaspoonred or green Sichuan pepper powder (more if the pepper isn't fresh and strong)
Add 4 cups chicken broth to a medium sauce pan along with Shaoxing wine, Chinese spices, ginger and green onions. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow broth to simmer while you cook the beef.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add whole steak. Cook at a low boil for about 15 minutes, until it is mostly cooked through. Remove steak and let it cool enough to cut. Slice into thick batons about 1/2-inch wide and 2-3 inches long.
Heat wok until hot, then add 1 cup of oil or enough to deep-fry the meat. Heat oil to about 325° and add beef slices. Deep-fry beef until it is browned and crispy over half of the surface area. Remove from oil and set aside.
Returning to the spiced broth, remove it from heat and strain the broth, leaving the spices behind.
Pour off oil, clean wok and return to heat. When wok is hot, add about 1 tablespoon fresh oil to the wok as well as 1 CUP of the spiced broth, salt and sugar. Add the beef and bring the broth to a boil, then lower the heat and braise the beef at a low simmer for several minutes, until only 3-4 tablespoons of broth remains in the wok.
Turn heat off and add chili oil, chili flakes, sesame oil and Sichuan pepper powder. Mix all ingredients well, then remove beef to a serving bowl. When cool, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve at room temperature.
Remaining broth is delicious as a noodle soup base. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.