Recipe: Sichuan beef

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2D
Last Modified: Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013 - 9:19 am

You can call it a peppercorn all you like, but the peppery ingredient that puts the buzz in Sichuan-style cooking actually isn't one.

Though it resembles and is used in a way similar to black peppercorns, Sichuan pepper isn't a peppercorn at all. Rather, it is the dried rind of the berrylike fruit of the prickly ash tree. And you don't need to be a heat fiend to love it. While it does have a peppery bite, its real power is in the tingling, zingly feeling it leaves on your tongue, rather than a true heat.

In Chinese cooking, the Sichuan pepper often is used with meats and is a basic component of five-spice powder. In this weeknight-friendly beef recipe, we combine the Sichuan pepper with spicy chili garlic paste for a dish that will jump-start your mouth. Serve it over rice or noodles.

Sichuan beef

Start to finish: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

3 tablespoons chili garlic paste

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper, crushed

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin or rice wine

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal

2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

3 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Rice or noodles, to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

Place the flank steak slices in a zip-close plastic bag. Add the chili garlic paste, ginger and Sichuan pepper. Seal the bag, then massage the seasonings into the meat. Refrigerate and allow to marinate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to cook, in a large, deep skillet or a wok over high, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the beef and sauté for 8 minutes, or until the beef is browned and starting to dry. Add the soy sauce, mirin, celery, carrots and scallions. Cook for another 4 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp- tender.

Per serving: 330 calories; 180 calories from fat (55 percent of total calories); 20 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 26 g protein; 770 mg sodium.

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Read more articles by Alison Ladman



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