In Sichuan cooking, there is a method known as dry frying, which involves cooking meat or vegetables over medium heat for a longer period of time than stir-frying, until the ingredients become crispy on the outside but still tender on the inside. Beef is one of the most popular meats to dry fry, while Dry-Fried Green Beans is one of Sichuan’s most well-known vegetable dishes. This dry-fried beef recipe calls for 8 minutes of frying time. After the beef has cooked, it will look a little like beef jerky, but the taste is actually remarkably succulent. Dry frying also concentrates the flavor of the beef and doesn’t result in too much excess oil in the finished dish. Here, the sliced bell pepper provides a crunchy, colorful contrast to the beef.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 pound flank steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-
- inch-thick slices
- 4 to 5 dried red chilies
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon julienned fresh ginger
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 scallions, cut into 3-inch lengths and shredded
- 1. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the rice wine, chili paste, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper, and black pepper. Set aside.
- 2. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil, swirl to coat the bottom, and wait for 1 minute for the oil to heat up. Add the beef, spread it out evenly, and allow it to sizzle undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes. (The oil will become cloudy initially as the beef releases its juices.) Cook the beef for about another 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil becomes clear again. The beef should be mostly dark brown and, having lost most of its water content, also crispy in texture. Transfer the beef to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- 3. Drain the oil from the wok and wipe the wok clean with a paper towel, being careful not to touch the hot sides with your hands. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chilies, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until just aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the bell peppers and stir-fry for another minute. Return the beef to the wok and pour in the sauce, using a spatula to release any brown bits from the bottom of the wok. Toss in the scallions. Transfer to a plate and serve.