Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Spicy crispy beef – Szechuan style

on May 20, 2011

Aldi’s fresh meat options seem to be improving. I used to only buy their specially selected dry cured bacon and sausages. And then they started having free range whole chickens and I’ve done a couple recipes on here with them. But now they’ve expanded to have free range chicken breasts and british specially selected beef. So I bought some frying steak that they had to try it and I must say, I was quite impressed.

Don’t ask me why, but somewhere in the course of looking for a recipe, I got it in my head that I had to have crispy beef. I found some szechuan recipes for it but they all involved five spice, aniseed, star anise, hoisin sauce or black bean sauce. And hubby hates aniseedy tastes, most of which those have. And I hate proper (Szechuan style) black bean sauce. I don’t mind the rubbish takeaway stuff, but really, what’s the point?

So I found a more cantonese style recipe, but just added Szechuan peppercorns and chilli to it to make it spicier and more Szechuan-stylee. So it’s not true Szechuan, but regardless, it’s extremely tasty and definitely husband approved. This is one of those takeaway meals that you can make really easily and cheaply at home and will taste so much better and have less calories and other nasties like MSG in it.

If you don’t have Szechuan peppercorns, don’t worry. Just leave them out. It’ll still be delicious. And if you’re afraid of chillis, leave them out too – you may want to put in some star anise, black bean sauce or hoisin sauce though instead to add to the flavour.

The original recipe I used (and adapted) is here

And here’s mine:

Szechuan style spicy crispy beef

Serves 2

  • 180-200g beef steak (I used frying steak – no point in getting prime sirloin steak for this!), very finely sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cornflour
  • Lots of oil for frying (not olive – vegetable, sunflower, groundnut, peanut, sesame)
  • 1 carrot, julienned (sliced very thinly)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • Handful of green beans, topped & tailed
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped (de seed if you don’t want too spicy)
  • 2 large red chillis, de seeded and finely shredded
  • 10 szechuan peppercorns, lightly bashed in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5-2 tbsp rice vinegar (use white wine vinegar if you don’t have)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  1. Make a batter with the corflour, salt and egg by putting the flour & salt in a medium bowl, making a well in the middle and cracking the egg into it. Whisk the egg well to beat slowly incorporating the flour until you have a fairly thick batter (you wouldn’t want to make pancakes with it). Add you beef strips to it and coat well. I then stuck in the fridge whilst I prepped the vege.
  2. Using a wok or high sided frying pan (or a saucepan even), pour about 3-4 inches of oil into it and heat until smoking. When it’s very hot, add the beef and batter (taking care as it may spit) and deep fry. I found that this instantly turned into some kind of weird beef pancake thing. When it was crisp on one side, I turned the whole pancakey thing over to fry on the other side. When it had started to go crisp on that side I used tongs to quite forcefully pull the beef apart. As I did this, I tried to make sure that the parts that weren’t golden brown were fully in the oil. Fry until crisp and golden brown all over. Then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen towel.
  3. Pour away all but about 1-2 tbsp of the oil and fry the onionin it on a high heat until it starts to soften, then add the carrot and beans. Fry these quickly for a minute, then add the ginger, garlic, chillis and peppercorns. Mix well and fry for a minute.
  4. Then add the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well to blend then add the beef and mix well again to ensure all the beef is coated in the mix.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with boiled rice or soft fried noodles.
  6. Enjoy the tastiness of the takeaway made in minutes all by yourself at much less cost.

4 responses to “Spicy crispy beef – Szechuan style

  1. […] and actually tastes better than the average chinese takeaway.  Make with my schezuan crispy beef (consistently one of my most looked at recipes) and some egg fried rice and you’ve got […]

  2. Dannilou says:

    This sounds really nammers! Thanks for tomorrow’s supper idea!

  3. manju says:

    i came here while searching for a good Szechuan recipe. your picture looked the most appetizing, and i made it. easy and yummy. thanks for sharing the recipe.

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