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Moday Meals: Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew

Nǐ hǎo from China! Forgive me for my quick and untimely posts lately!  Life settling into an new culture has taken a little getting used to but we finally started cooking CHINESE food over here in China.  So I thought I’d share one of the typical Sichuan dishes for Monday Meals!

Our version of Spicy Beef Stew (except we did chicken with potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper). Aren't the red carrots a trip? I wonder it they're a different species?

Just like mac n’ cheese in the States or bratwürste in Germany, the Sichuan spicy beef stew (aka Sichuan Spicy Red-Cooked Beef) is a true comfort food in Sichuan and across China. It is so popular that spicy beef stew has become a standard artificial flavor for instant noodles and frozen microwave meals.  Well this weekend Nate and I attempted our version of this delicious Sichuan dish.

The beef is slowed cooked until it’s tender and extremely flavorful.

You’ll also get lots of variations of this dish thanks to the well-guarded secret species each restaurant uses.  For our version we added red bell pepper, potato, and carrots because Dee loves these vegetables!  It’s pretty much like an American stew except for the special ingredient – the spicy sauce packet!

Premade spice packet from Keep Joy - the local supermarket

Nate cerimoniously adding in the spice packet! LOL!

We used the premade spice packet from the grocery store (it took us a couple of tries to get the correct spice packet since we were going by looks alone!). You probably won’t be able to find this spice packet at US grocery stores  (try a specialty store like Uwajimaya or Fubonn in Portland), but here’s a homemade recipe I obtained tfrom Yi Reservation‘s site.  I know you might have to fetch some of the ingrediants from Asian grocery stores or specialty stores but trust me your effort will be well rewarded.

Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew – Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 3 lb Beef (brisket, shank, or lean cuts)
  • 1.5 lb Potatoes
  • 5 clove Garlic
  • 2 inch Ginger (about 4 slices)
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 small Rock sugar
  • 4 tbsp cooking wine.
  • 4 cup Water or beef stock
  • Chopped scallion and cilantro

Dry Spices

  • 4 Star anise
  • 6 pc Dried chili
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 pc Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 2  pc Clove
  • 1 pc Dried orange peel
  • 4 pc Bay leaves
  • 2 Black cardamom


1. Cut the beef into 1 inch thick slices against the grain. Peel the radish or potatoes and cut into 1.5 x 1.5 cubes.

2. Blanche the beef in boiling water. Raise the beef with cold water and let it drain.

3. In a wok, combine 2 tbsp of cooking oil with spicy bean paste, garlic, ginger. Cook in low heat until aromatic.

4. Add the beef and mix it with the condiments. Add soy sauce and cooking wine. Cook for another 2 minutes.

5. Transfer the beef and all the condiments to a stock pot or large Dutch oven casserole. Add the dry species and the water or stock. Bring to boil and simmer in low heat for 1 hours or until the beef is cooked.

6. Add the radish or potatoes to the beef stew. Add salt to taste. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes or until both beef and radish are tender.

Sprinkle some chopped scallion and cilantro to serve.

Yi Reservations pretty version of Spicy Beef Stew

This is the basic recipe for a spicy soup stalk too so if you want variation try taking out the veggies and replacing them with a thin egg or rice noodle!

Don’t forget to have a bowl of rice to go with this beef stew!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Chinese cooking in the upcoming months (I’m thinking I should share our version of french toast with you guys next – you’d get a kick out of our ingredients list!).




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