Hunan Beef

For the beef:
1 pound flank steak (sliced 1/4-inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/3 cup cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
1 red Holland pepper (25g, deseeded; can substitute red Fresno peppers)
1 small green bell pepper or poblano pepper (100g, deseeded)
1 small red bell pepper (100g, deseeded)
2 banana peppers (80g, deseeded)
8 whole dried chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (8g, sliced)
1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced, 40g)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
5 cloves garlic (15g, sliced)
2 tablespoons fermented black beans (20g, rinsed)
2 scallions (60g, cut at an angle into 2-inch lengths)

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced flank steak with the baking soda, water and oyster sauce. Massage these ingredients into the beef until any liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Lightly dredge all of the beef slices in cornstarch. Set aside until ready to fry.

Slice all the fresh peppers crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Set aside the dried red peppers. Do not break them open or chop unless you want a very spicy Hunan Beef!

Stir the sugar into 2 tablespoons of hot water until dissolved. Add the Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and ground white pepper. Mix until well combined and set aside.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Spread ? cup oil around the wok, and sear the beef in three batches on both sides until browned and slightly crispy on the outside. Be sure the wok and oil are hot each time you add a batch of beef.
Drain the crispy beef by moving it up to the side of the wok. The oil will drain to the bottom and you can then transfer the beef to a sheet pan or plate. No need for paper towels or wire racks!

After frying the beef, leave about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the wok, and remove any excess. If your wok got burned in the frying process, this is a good time to wash it. While you want the beef flavor from frying, you definitely don’t want burned bits in the stir-fry if you got carried away with the heat during frying.

Assembling the stir-fry:

Set the wok over medium heat. Add the sliced ginger and fry until caramelized, about 30 seconds.

Next, add the shallots. Continue to fry for another 30 seconds, and add the fresh peppers (except for the red holland or fresno peppers). Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 1 minute to get a nice sear on the peppers.

Clear a section on the bottom of the wok, and add the dried chili peppers. Let them toast in the oil for 20 seconds. (If you want your dish spicier, add the dried chili peppers earlier, along with the shallots.)

Next, pour the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok. Add the sliced garlic, fermented black beans, and the red Holland or Fresno peppers. Stir-fry for another 30 to 60 seconds on high heat.

Next, add the fried beef and pour over the pre-prepared sauce. Maintain the highest heat possible and stir-fry everything together for 20 seconds. Add the scallions. Continue to stir fry until most––if not all––of the sauce has evaporated.

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