I have really been into spicy foods lately, specifically in Asian cuisine. Kimchi, Pad Kee Mao, Ma Po Tofu, Beef noodle soup, — you name it, and I’ve probably had it all in the past month or two. I am the odd type of person who finds a tongue-numbing experience comforting and satisfying. For all those who don’t drink enough water (myself included), this spicy beef and vegetable dish has the added benefit of helping you stay hydrated. It is inspired by a traditional Chinese dish called Dry-Fried Sichuan beef. Dry frying is a simple technique where the main ingredient has no protective coating (or marinade) before stir-frying, giving a nice crispy browned outer layer to the meat or vegetable. As with most stir-fries, the bulk of the time spent is prepping the ingredients, so feel free chop up the vegetables the day before to save time.
By far my favorite ingredient in this dish is the green jalapeño peppers. They add an extra kick of flavor and spiciness. I think I can handle at most five, but I know some of you can handle more, so you’re welcome to add as many as you are comfortable with.
You’ll want to stir-fry the vegetables first to soften them up. Remove them from the pan, and then cook the beef. Don’t give in to the temptation to cook them together– it will be faster, but you’ll get hard vegetables and tough, chewy beef.
Swirl in the sauces and spices and then add the ginger and garlic. Note that this dish uses a mixture of regular soy sauce and dark soy sauce to bring out a richer flavor. Dark soy sauce is a thicker and sweeter sauce than regular soy sauce and compliments the spiciness of the peppers well. Simply stir-fry for another minute until all the ingredients are incorporated and then top with the green scallions.
Have I also mentioned that you can easily make this in under 30 minutes for a weeknight meal? Just serve it with some rice and you are good to go.
Spicy Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry
- 12 oz flank steak, cut into thin strips
- Oil for frying
- 5 jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and sliced into strips
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 1 cup celery, julienned
- 1-3 dried red chili peppers, snipped one one end
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 2/3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 scallions, shredded
- 2 tsp sesame oil
In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add in the jalapeño peppers, red bell pepper, celery and dried red chili peppers, salt and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Remove from wok and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauces and ground white pepper. In the same wok, heat 1 tsp. of oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the flank steak in and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the beef is browned but still a bit pink. Swirl in the soy sauce mixture. Add ginger and garlic to the wok and then stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add the vegetables back in and stir-fry for another 30 seconds until all ingredients are incorporated. Off the heat, sprinkle the scallions and drizzle the sesame oil over the top. Toss ingredients so they are evenly coated with the sesame oil and season with more salt if needed.