Sichuan Beef with Peppers
Adapted from Land of Plenty by Fuschia Dunlop (W.W. Norton, 2001)
Served with plain white rice, this can be a simple dinner for two that takes less time to prepare than the rice. You can also serve it as one dish among several, for a bigger crowd or for a fancier meal. If you decide to scale up the portions, though, take care not to crowd the pan, which can keep the stir-fry from cooking properly - everything steams instead of browning.
- ½ lb. lean beef, such as flank steak
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ green bell pepper
- 2 tsp. Shaoxing wine, or sherry
- 1 tbsp. plus ¾ tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. water
- ½ tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. chicken stock
- Peanut oil, for cooking
- Salt, to taste
- Cut the beef against the grain into thin strips, and place in a bowl with the Shaoxing wine, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, the water, and salt. Meanwhile, slice the bell peppers into thin strips like the beef. In a small bowl, combine the stock, the remaining constarch, and the soy sauce.
- Heat a wok, or a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil, and stir-fry the peppers for a minute or two, until they are just cooked. Remove them from the wok, and add the beef, with more peanut oil if necessary. Stir constantly to keep the pieces separate. When the pieces are starting to brown well, add the peppers back, and stir for a moment before adding the soy-stock mix. Stir until the mixture thickens - just a few seconds! - and remove to a serving dish. Serve immediately.