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Sichuan Hot and Spicy Beef (Xiangla Feiniu, 香辣肥牛)

Adapted from Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English, published in China in 2010 by the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine and the Sichuan Gourmet Association.
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


  • 12 ounces marbled beef (skirt steak, sirloin flap, bavette, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • teaspoons corn starch
  • ¼ cup caiziyou (roasted rapeseed oil) or cooking oil of choice
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sichuan ground chilies (to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
  • ½ onion, cut in thin half-moons
  • 4 to 5 spicy red or green fresh chilies (jalapeño, serrano, fresno, etc.), cut in thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon MSG optional
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1-3 teaspoons aromatic chili oil or crisp (to taste)


  • Cut beef across the grain into 1/8-1/4 inch strips (no thicker), then cut in half vertically into long, bite-size strips. Add to a bowl with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and corn starch and mix well. Marinate 15-30 minutes.
  • Heat wok until very hot (so the meat doesn't stick). Add 2 tablespoons oil and the beef. Spread the beef out into one layer, and leave it alone to get a sear on one side. Then flip and stir-fry until just cooked through. Remove to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels and let drain. Pat meat with additional paper towels to remove some of the beef fat if it bothers you.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan or open doors in preparation for chilies!
  • Clean the wok, return to medium heat, then add ¼ cup caiziyou. Heat the oil briefly, then add ground chilies and Sichuan pepper and cook until fragrant, but do not burn. Add back the beef and stir-fry briefly.
  • Add the bell peppers, onions and spicy chilies in that order, stir-frying until they appear just cooked but still crisp.
  • Add the Shaoxing wine around the edges of the wok, then add the sugar, salt and MSG (if using), constantly tossing and turning the meat. Add the cilantro, Sichuan pepper oil and sesame oil to finish the dish, stir-frying briefly to meld flavors. Plate, garnish with fresh cilantro and drizzle with your favorite chili oil or chili crisp to taste.


Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.