What is Szechuan Beef?
Szechuan Beef is a popular spicy beef recipe, created in typical Szechuan type of cuisine or cooking. In this particular recipe, the beef is usually sliced into thin strips and fried for a couple of minutes. After which, the fried beef strips will be stir-fried with a variety of spices and some vegetables like carrots and/or celery.
Szechuan is a style of cooking that originated in China, particularly in the Sichuan Province, which is also famous for bold and spicy flavorful cooking. Szechuan cooking usually involves garlic and chili peppers, and of course the Sichuan peppercorn. Some also add some ginger, peanuts, and perhaps some paste made from sesame seeds. Depending on the region on the Southwestern parts of China, there are local variations to the spices added for Szechuan style of cooking. The Buddhist style of Szechuan cooking even calls their style as “vegetarian style”.
But common to most styles of Szechuan cooking is the use of garlic, chili, and Sichuan peppercorn or flower pepper. This local pepper variety is said to be very fragrant and produces a very spicy and almost numbing sensation when tasted. Common techniques for Szechuan style of cooking include frying, stir frying, braising, and steaming. Although any meat can be used for Szechuan type of cooking, beef is commonly used in the Southwestern parts of China, where this cooking style originated. This is attributed to the availability and prevalence of oxen in this part of China.
To prepare Szechuan beef, the meat is usually dry-fried to make it crispy and chewy. If one doesn’t like carrots, celery may a great alternative to add into the mix. It is also best to have the Sichuan peppercorn roasted before adding it into the stir-fry mix. Sugar may be added to sweeten the meat and spices are added depending on tastes.