Sichuan Mouthwatering Beef (Ma La Niu Rou)
This beef is best served cold either as an appetizer or in combination with other cold dishes.
Author: Karen Christensen
- ¾ lb. (325g) stewing beef or beef shin, boneless and in one piece
- 2 oz. (50g) ginger, unpeeled, cut into thick slices
- 2 spring onions, crushed slightly
- 2 star anise
- 1 piece of cassia bark, or ⅓ of a cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp. whole Sichuan pepper
- 2 cloves
- 1 Tbsp. shaoxing (rice) wine
- 2 tsp. salt
- For the Sauce
- ¼ tsp. ground roasted Sichuan pepper
- 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
- 1 tsp. light soy sauce
- 3–5 Tbsp. chili oil, with its sediment, to taste
- ¼ tsp. sesame oil
- To serve
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)
- Handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. finely sliced spring onion greens
- 1 celery stick, de-stringed and finely chopped
- Good handful of fried peanuts, roughly chopped or crushed with a mortar and pestle
- Rinse the beef very thoroughly in cold and then hot water to remove any blood (under the tap will do). Then place in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the liquid.
- Then add the ginger, spring onions, spices, shaoxing wine, and salt, and return to a boil. Cover and cook over a very low flame for about two hours.
- When the beef is cooked, set it aside to cool, reserving ⅓ cup (75 ml) of the cooking liquid. (The beef and liquid can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days. The leftover liquid can be frozen and re-used on another occasion to give a spiced flavor to firm tofu, hard-boiled eggs, peanuts, chicken wings, beef, or offal of your choice.)
- Gently toast the sesame seeds, if using, in a dry wok or frying pan for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden, then tip into a dish.
- To serve:When you wish to serve the beef, cut it into fairly thin slices and place in a serving dish.
- If the reserved beef cooking liquor has become jellied, let it stand at room temperature or gently warm it through until it is liquid once more, then allow to cool a little.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients with the beef cooking liquor in a small bowl, mix well and pour over the beef, scatter over the other ingredients and serve. Give everything a good mix and invite your guests to help themselves.