Braised Beef with Chili Sauce (水煮牛肉)

The weather is getting colder here in New York City and the latest round of snow storm has trapped many people home in this depressing weather. My way to keep me warm and cheer up in this kind of cold winter season is to cook some of my favorite Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisines.  One classic Sichuan dish I especially like to cook around this time is Braised Beef in Sichuan Chili Sauce, a perfect dish to spice up (literally) your dinner and even relieve your recent sinus congestion.

Having been to almost a dozen of Sichuan restaurants around tri-state area, braised beef in chili sauce was one of the must-order dishes and the dish that I often used to measure the quality of a restaurant. However the version served in restaurant is often a little too salty for me that is why now I only cook this classic dish at home so I can adjust the taste to my own liking.

Just to give you a sense of what this dish is all about, you will be sweating away on this tongue-numbing fiery beef dish that features layers of braised tender juicy beef in a chili sauce with Sichuan spicy condiments dancing around every piece of beef. Love it or hate it, the ferocity Sichuan peppercorn is in full force in this dish.  In addition, you’ll also be using the oil splashing technique (Step 5 – 6) that’s unique to a lot of Sichuan cuisines. Before the dish is ready to serve, you just need to sizzle the condiments/ingredients on top of the beef to unlock the fresh flavor. The end result – a sizzling hot fiery beef dish in a complex Sichuan spicy sauce.

Be flexible with the amount of dried chili you want to use. For me, 1 – 2 table spoons of chili powder make it perfect. How much of chili can you handle?

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”9fdfd9″]Ingredients

10oz Lean beef meat, sliced
6oz Baby Bok Choy(or other leafy vegetables)
½ stalk Leeks, cut into 2 inch long

Meat Marinade

1tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cooking wine, 2 tsp corn starch, ½ egg white, 1 tsp water

Condiments
2 tsp Sichuan chili bean paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Cooking wine
2 tbsp Minced garlic, divided to 2 parts
2 slice Ginger
2 Dried chili + 1 tbsp dried chili powder
½ tsp Sichuan peppercorn + 1tsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp corn starch dissolved in water
1 cup water or beef stock
Chopped scallion and cilantro for garnish[/stextbox]

[stextbox id=”custom”]Step-by-Step
1. Sliced and marinade the beef using marinade condiments. Set it aside for at least ½ hour. This can be done a day earlier and refrigerated.

2. To make the braising sauce, fry the chili bean paste, chili, Sichuan peppercorn, ginger, and one part of garlic in 1 tbsp of oil until the fragrant is released. About 2 minutes. Add cooking wine, then water, soy sauce, sugar. Cook in low heat for 10 minutes.

3. While waiting on the sauce, Blanche the bok choy for 2 minutes in boiling water until  cooked. Drain the bok choy and place in a serving bowl.
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4. Braise the beef in the sauce on medium heat. When almost done, thicken the sauce with corn starch if needed. Add the leeks and cook it briefly for 1 minute. Turn off the heat right away when the beef is cooked to keep the beef tender. About 3 minutes.

5. Place the beef and sauce on top of the bok choy. Sprinkle the second part of minced garlic, chili powder, and peppercorn powder on top of the beef.

6*. In a sauce pan, heat up 3 tbsp of oil until smoky hot. Slowly, one spoon at a time, splash the oil on top of the beef and condiments and let it sizzle. Try to splash the oil on the whole surface of the dish. Garnish with scallion and cilantro.
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*Tips
Make sure to be cautious and try to stay away from children when performing the oil splash. It can cause serious burn damage.
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Serve it while sizzling and don’t forget to cook some rice to go with this dish.

17 comments

  1. 10

    Yi this is excellent instead of braized I grilled hanger steak. Love the added heat. Thanks once again!

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  3. 9

    Why not use Peanut oil??? I understand that is the most traditional oil for stir-fry because it works well at high temperatures.

    • 9.1

      Hi Gatorpan, you are absolutely right ahat peanut oil works better at high tempature than vegetable oil and canola oil. I have been rotating different kind of oils the past few years and I think I was using vegetable oil and canola oil at the time when I posted that recipe. I’d 100% agree that I’d use peanut oil to do that oil splash in the last step because the high tempature it can achieve. Thanks for your visit!

  4. 8

    What kind of oil do you like to use?

  5. 7

    Hi! I was going to attempt to re-create this dish yesterday, but wasn’t sure where does the leeks and ginger and 1 part of the minced garlic fit in?

    • 7.1

      Hello J, thanks for your visit. I have to apologize for missing so much information on this recipe that I am proud of. I must be drunk when I was writing the post :). I have updated the missing steps. To answer your question, the ginger and one part of garlic are pan fried with bean paste and etc to make the braising sauce. The leeks are cooked at the very end for about 30 seconds or so to bring in the intense garlic flavor. At the last, the second part of garlic is garnished on top and splashed in hot oil. I hope this helps and thank you for pointing out the errors.

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  9. 6

    Hi, I am Singaporean and simply love Szechuan food! Everytime I visit BJ or SH, I’ll endeavor to dine at a Szechuan eatery for my fav dishes eg La Zi Ji (crisp chicken) or Shui Zhu Yu (Sliced fish in Szechuan oil) …sorry, can’t write Chinese on m IPad. I will continue to chk out your blog for Sichuan dishes . Michelle

    • 6.1

      Hello Michelle, thanks for your visit.
      I am glad that you are a big fan of Sichuan(Szechuan) food. The particular dishes you mentioned are also some of my favorite classic dishes. I actually grew up seeing how Spicy Chicken Chongqing Style (La Zi Ji) become popular.
      I am planning to put the recipes for both La Zi Ji and Shui Zhu Yu shortly so please be sure to check back!

      • am so looking forward to your recipes!! Oh I love 滚肥牛 Too! If only szechuan food was less greasy, I can eat them all the time!

        • I agree that Sichuan dishes are in general greasy. However what’s great about homemade Sichuan food is that you can customize the spiciness and oiliness to your own liking, thereby creating the healthier version of Sichuan cuisine.

  10. 5

    Looks nice, I’ve been craving for it for a while, just don’t know how to make it. Thanks.

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