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Feb 17, 2011 06:08 AM

Szechuan Beef

Does anybody have an authentic recipe for szechuan beef? I have looked over 6 pages of search results on Google and elsewhere with little luck, although I did find a recipe titled "Szechuan beef with bean sauce" on that looks really nice.

I think I have most of the ingredients at my disposal with the exception of szechuan peppercorns. Help!

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  1. You might want to check out the recipe for Martin Yan's Genghis Khan Beef in Grace Young's "The Breath of a Wok." I'm not sure it's authentically Szechuan, but it's delicious and it can be spiced to your liking by controlling the amount of Thai chilies and sambal. There's quite a bit written about this dish throughout this thread:

    In the same book, there's a recipe for "Cousin Zane's Sichuan Beef" which I haven't tried personally, but which gets some pretty good reviews in that same post.

    3 Replies
      1. re: CindyJ

        My library has that book. I think I'm going to go check it out. Thanks!

        1. re: MichaelBeyer

          I did that too, before I bought it. If you do wok cooking even once in a while, it's a great book to own.

      2. Where did you hear or taste this dish? A particular restaurant? The name isn't particularly descriptive. They must have a dozen beef dishes in Szechuan, or more. Or it could a Cantonese interpretation of a typical Szechuan dish. You do want the peppercorns; there really isn't substitute (they aren't like black pepper or chile).

        5 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          Hi Paul--I was looking through some old take out menus and thought it sounded good.
          I found out that Penzey's now sells szechuan peppercorns. I'll have to pick some up.

          1. re: MichaelBeyer

            I participated in a thread about old Szechuan cookbooks (circa 1970s). The OP of that thread is probably the best source for information like this. I'll try a search on 'delfs' (author of one of those books).


              1. re: buttertart

                Agreed, informative and enlightening. Thanks for linking it here.

          2. re: paulj

            wow--I really like the szechuan peppercorns. They give dishes a pleasant tingle. I thought they would be too hot for me but they are not overbearing at all.

            1. re: scoopG

              Interesting to note that in her book Land Of Plenty, Dunlop says that the Szechuan people favor pork over beef. That said, I love her Dry-fried Beef recipe.


              1. Inspired by this post, I made Cousin Zane's Sichuan Beef for dinner last night. Never one to leave well enough alone, I made a few modifications to the recipe. I added two freshThai chiles for additional heat, I used concentrated tomato paste diluted with a little water in place of the ketchup, and I added sugar snap peas along with the onions and bell pepper (I used a red pepper) . Also, I used a pound of meat rather than the 8 ounces in the recipe, and prepared double the amount of sauce, although I ended up not adding it all in.

                All in all, it was truly delicious, and I don't think any of my modifications changed the essence of this dish. It's a keeper!

                1 Reply
                1. re: CindyJ

                  I made Cousin Zane's Sichuan Beef over the weekend. I found the amount of ketchup and hoisin in the sauce too sweet for my taste. I added some toasted szechuan peppercorns for extra heat. I'm going to try out a few more recipes and see how they compare.

                2. The "Szechuan Beef" dishes I have had at restaurants are with shredded beef, shredded carrots and celery. The texture is as important as the flavor, it comes prepared in a spicy brown sauce. (Not sweet) . I assume this is what the OP is after...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: menton1

                    There's Szechuan preserved vegetable that would add a spice crisp texture to a dish. It's a knobby root vegetable (mustard family) that is canned with 'chili powder, salt and spices'. Some match sticks of that would go well with shredded beef.