Simple and fast, this Cantonese dish reminds me of Western-style pepper steak, except the cooking method and flavours are different. Some Chinese cookbooks say to use bicarbonate of soda to tenderise the meat because in China cattle are used as work animals and the meat is often tough. As we have superb beef in Australia, this is not necessary. I use Sher wagyu beef for my version.
- 250 gm beef fillet, trimmed and cut into 2cm cubes
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- ½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
- 2 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp white sugar, or to taste
- 80 ml chicken stock (1/3 cup)
- vegetable oil, For deep-frying
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 2 tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- sliced long red chilli (optional), To garnish
- steamed or <a href='http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/cantonese_fried_rice_with_chicken_salted_fish_and_bean_sprouts.htm'>fried rice</a>, To serve
- 1Combine beef and rice wine in a bowl, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stand for 20 minutes to marinate.
- 2Combine Sichuan pepper, oyster and soy sauces, sugar and chicken stock in a bowl.
- 3Heat oil in a wok over high heat and deep-fry beef for 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Remove, using a slotted spoon, and set aside. Remove all but 1 tbsp of oil, reduce heat to medium, add garlic and fry for a few seconds or until golden brown. Return beef, add sauce mixture and crushed peppercorns and stirfry for 30 seconds. Scatter with chilli and serve with rice.
Note Ground Sichuan pepper is available from Asian grocers. If unavailable, purchase Sichuan peppercorns, dry-roast them, then finely grind using a mortar and pestle.