Szechuan Beef Recipe (Gan Bian Niu Rou Si)

Szechuan Spicy Beef
Szechuan Spicy Beef. Getty Images/Sarah Bossert
    30 min
Ratings (16)

In this Szechuan recipe, the beef is dry-fried, making it chewy and crispy. If you like, you can replace one of the carrots with 1/2 cup of celery that has been strung and cut julienne-style. Feel free to make the dish hotter by adding more chili paste or sauce if desired. Serves 3 to 4.

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound beef (flank or sirloin steak is good)
  • 2 regular carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 scallions (spring onions, green onions), white parts only
  • 1 tablespoon sweet bean sauce (or substitute hoisin sauce)
  • 3 teaspoons chili paste or chili sauce
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon roasted Szechuan peppercorn 

How to Make It

Cut the beef julienne style, across the grain into thin slices less than 1/4-inch thick and 2 1/2 - 3 inches long. Wash, peel and julienne the carrots into thin strips about 1/8 inch thick and 2 1/2 - 3 inches long. Mince the ginger. Cut the scallion into lengths about 2 1/2 inches long, and then into thin shreds.

In a small bowl, combine the bean sauce and chili paste or sauce. Set aside. Preheat the wok on medium-high heat for at least 30 seconds. (The wok is ready when you can feel the heat when holding the palm of your hand 2 - 3 inches above the wok's surface).

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the preheated wok, drizzling down the sides. When the oil is hot, add the julienned carrots. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring in the salt. (Do not brown the carrots). Remove from the wok.

Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in the wok over medium-high to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef.

Stir-fry for approximately 10 minutes, until the beef is crispy and dark brown and chewy (you will hear the beef sizzle as it dries out). Splash the beef with the rice wine or dry sherry during the later stages of cooking.

Push the beef up to the sides and drain all but 2 tablespoons from the wok. Add the bean sauce and chili paste or sauce mixture. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, until aromatic, then return the carrots to the wok.

Stir in the sugar and the roasted Szechuan peppercorn. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve hot.