Sichuan Spicy Poached Beef

Took me a long time to do this video. Lots of editing… and finally it is done. Hope you like it. Today we are making Sichuan spicy poached beef. It includes a very unique method to cook beef which makes the meat extra tender and juicy. It is a classic Sichuan style food. I will order it every time I go to a Sichuan restaurant. A funny thing about this recipe is that The name fools lots of people when they visit Sichuan. Shui Zhu Niu Rou literally means poach beef and it sounds nothing like spicy food. Well, Sichuan is a unique province, and I love the food there. If you like spicy food as well, give this a try soon.

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4.43 from 7 votes

Sichuan Spicy Poached Beef


Ingredients for the beef marinade

  • 300 grams of beef slices
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • Ginger garlic scallion water 2 cloves of garlic +2 slices of ginger + 3 pieces of the white part of spring onion+ 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 egg white
  • Corn starch water 1 tbsp of water +1 tbsp of cornstarch

Ingredients for the Dao Kou La Jiao刀口辣椒

Ingredients for the vegetables to put on the bottom [底菜]

  • 2/3 cup of carrot
  • 2/3 cup of bean sprout
  • 2/3 cup of shredded cabbage
  • 2/3 cup of celery
  • 1/2 tsp of salt or to taste

Ingredients for the spicy broth

  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic roughly minced
  • 4 pieces of the white part of spring onion
  • 2 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn
  • 3 tbsp of Sichuan Dou Ban Jiang
  • Few pieces of Chinese pickled chili finely diced (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp of chili flake adjust the heat level to your own preference
  • 2.5 cups of water or beef stock

Ingredients to add at the end

  • Dao Kou La Jiao [刀口辣椒]
  • 2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp of minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp of hot oil to pour on the top
  • Cilantro and scallion for garnish


Marinating the beef

  • You will need 300 grams of beef. Sirloin, Fillet or Tenderloin work the best for this recipe. Blade or Topside will also work as well. Slice it into 3 mm thick pieces.
  • Make aromatic water: blend 2 cloves of garlic, 2 slices of ginger, 3 pieces of the white part of spring onion, and 1/4 cup of water into a puree. Let it go through a sieve to get rid of the solid part. If you noticed, I have used this in my steamed pork bun filling, soup dumpling filling. This adds so much flavor and juiciness into the meat.
  • Marinade the beef with 3/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, the aromatic water, 1 egg white (Don’t throw the egg yolk. Use it for General Tso’s chicken. It is so delicious). Mix the beef within one direction until all the liquid is gone. Then pour in some cornstarch water (1 tbsp of water mixed with 1 tbsp of cornstarch). Stir the meat while adding it. Once everything is well mixed, you still want to keep messaging it for another 3 minutes until you can feel that the beef has a velvety texture.
  • Cornstarch and egg white will give a lot of moisture to the beef and create a starchy layer to lock the juiciness inside the meat. This method is called velveting.
  • Cover it. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Making the Dao Kou La Jiao (刀口辣椒)

  • Add 2 tbsp of oil to the wok. Don’t need to wait for the oil to get hot. Just directly add in 1 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorn and 2/3 cup of dry hot chilies. Keep the flame on medium-low and we gonna stir this for a minute. You don’t want to burn it or else it will bring a bitter taste.
  • This just to activate the fragrance and flavor out of them. Because they gonna go on top of the dish. And we will pour a splash of hot oil to it. If you don’t saute them now, they not gonna be as fragrant as it should be. Once you see some of the chilies have a slightly dark red color, that means it is close to getting burned. Turn off the heat and tilt the wok.
  • Take the chilies and Sichuan peppercorns out. There will be some oil left in the wok. Just leave it there. We gonna use it to cook the vegetables later.
  • Roughly chop the chilies and finely dice the Sichuan peppercorn. Set it aside.
  • Prepare some vegetables to put on the bottom of the bowl [Di Cai 底菜].
  • In the same wok, this time, don’t need to add oil. Heat it up and add in the carrot, the bean sprout, the shredded cabbage and, the celery. Toss them on high heat for a minute. We don’t want to cook it all the way done. We want them to stay crunchy and fresh. Add some salt to taste, I used about 1/2 tsp. Mix it well. These vegetables are going to be put on the bottom of the bowl. It will balance out the flavor of this dish. Set that aside.

Making the spicy broth to poach the beef

  • Add more oil to the same wok. Add 4 slices of ginger, 4 pieces of white part of spring onion, 4 cloves of garlic, roughly minced, 2 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn, 3 tbsp of Sichuan Dou ban Jiang, 1.5 tsp of chili flake, some diced Chinese pickled chilies (I have shown you a full tutorial on how to make Chinese pickles which you can check this video to learn how to make it: This is an optional ingredient, but I think it gives some unique characters to the dish. It is quite salty though. If you decide to skip this ingredient, you will have to adjust the saltiness in this recipe. Stir everything on low heat for a minute or until everything is fragrant. Pour in 2.5 cups of beef stock. If you don’t have stock in hand, the same amount of water will work just fine.
  • Bring it to a boil. You can taste and adjust the saltiness. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for another 5 minutes so all the spices can release the flavor. I like to use a sieve to fish out the Sichuan peppercorn that are floating on the top. This is an optional step but it does make this dish much easier to eat.
  • Add in the marinated beef. Stir it gently. Make sure they don’t stick to each other. Turn the heat to maximum. Bring this to a full boil to make sure all the meat is cooked through. Turn off the heat. Take the whole wok and pour this on top of the vegetable Di Cai that we made before.
  • Sprinkle the Dao Kou la jiao on the top. Add 2 tsp of sesame seeds, some diced garlic. Heat up 3 tbsp of oil to smoking hot and pour it on the top. The splashing sound always satisfies me. Last but not least, some cilantro and green onion for garnish. And you are ready to serve.



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