Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew (紅燒牛肉)
To beef lovers, a juicy and tender steak is probably the way to go. While I like to occasionally enjoy an expensive steak dinner or feed myself with a much cheaper but equally delicious sizzling steak in black pepper sauce at home, my craving for beef has never been fully satisfied with steak.
Perhaps it’s because I have yet been to a world class steakhouse or I just don’t know how to appreciate a piece of fine steak…..or perhaps it’s my stubborn stomach would not accept anything other than the tender, spicy, and flavorful beef stew from Sichuan (Szechuan). I think it’s the latter.
Just like mac n’ cheese in the States, bratwürste in Germany, or Bibimbab in Korean cuisine (you get the drift), the Sichuan spicy beef stew is a true comfort food in Sichuan and across China. It is so popular that spicy beet stew has become a standard artificial flavor for instant noodles and frozen microwave meals.
The Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew (aka Sichuan Spicy Red-Cooked Beef) is the ultimate treat for beef eaters and spicy food lovers like me. Although the name of the dish seems to suggest something explosive and very spicy, this beef dish is rather moderately spicy compared to another famous Sichuan beef dish.
Restaurants in Sichuan, China usually serve the dish in a clay pot or cast iron skillet, with beef drenched in an oily spicy broth. The beef is slowed cooked until it’s tender and extremely flavorful. You’ll also get lots of variations of this dish thanks to the well-guarded secret species each restaurant uses.
This homemade version recipe is what I have been using for years. I know you might have to fetch some of the species from Asian grocery stores or specialty stores but trust me your effort will be well rewarded.
Don’t forget to have a bowl of rice to go with this beef stew!
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Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew – Ingredients (2 servings)
- 3 lb Beef (brisket, shank, or lean cuts)
- 1.5 lb Radish (turnip / daikon) or Potatoes
- 5 clove Garlic
- 2 inch Ginger (about 4 slices)
- 2 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 small Rock sugar
- 4 tbsp cooking wine.
- 4 cup Water or beef stock
- Chopped scallion and cilantro
- 4 Star anise
- 6 pc Dried chili
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn
- 1 pc Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Fennel seeds
- 2 pc Clove
- 1 pc Dried orange peel
- 4 pc Bay leaves
- 2 Black cardamom
Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew – Step By Step
1. Cut the beef into 1 inch thick slices against the grain. Peel the radish or potatoes and cut into 1.5 x 1.5 cubes.
2. Blanche the beef in boiling water. Rinse the beef with cold water and let it drain.
3. In a wok, combine 2 tbsp of cooking oil with spicy bean paste, garlic, ginger, and rock sugar. Cook in low heat until aromatic.
4. Add the beef and mix it with the condiments. Add soy sauce and cooking wine. Cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Transfer the beef and all the condiments to a stock pot or large Dutch oven casserole. Add the dry species and the water or stock. Bring to boil and simmer in low heat for 1 hours or until the beef is cooked.
6. Add the radish or potatoes to the beef stew. Add salt to taste. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until both beef and radish are tender.
Sprinkle some chopped scallion and cilantro to serve.
PS. And yes you have guessed it right, this is the very beef stew used in the much more well known spicy Sichuan beef noodle soup.