How to make Sichuan Sauce Fried Beef? Today, we wanted to show you how to make a classic Sichuan dish, Jiang Shao Niu Rou, or sauce-fried beef.
It’s one of our personal favorites, but unfortunately it does seem to be a bit less well known outside of the province itself.
So then. despite its name, what you’re looking at with Jiang Shao or ‘sauce cooked’ is actually more of a flavor profile than a technique.
How To Make Sichuan Sauce Fried Beef?
In Sichuan, you can find sauce-cooked eggplant, sauce-cooked bitter melon, sauce cooked duck.
That sauce then?
Refers to this stuff: Tianjiang, Sichuan style sweet bean paste – which forms the foundation of the dish.
Now you might be familiar with Northern-style sweet bean paste already – it’s the basis of that sauce that you’d spread on your
Beijing duck pancake.
The Sichuan sort is different.
Less sweet, deeper in flavor.
And unfortunately, I can say with relative certainty that you won’t be able to find this stuff outside of China.
So we set off trying to figure out a good sub for the stuff and ended up settling on two imperfect but still tasty routes.
See, digging through our cupboard, the closest thing we could find taste-wise was actually Japanese red miso.
While they are made from different stuff, they do hit a lot of the same notes and in our tests the purely miso-based versions
also came out perfectly tasty.
That said, the miso does miss a bit of umph,so we decided to mix that red miso with Northern-style sweet bean paste at a ratio of 3 to 1, and also toss in an additional one part douchi, black fermented soybeans.
And while this sub isn’t perfect, I’d say in the context of the final dish it gets us about 95% of the way there.
And again, if lazy, going solely red miso is also delicious, and of course, if you can find that Sichuan-style tianjiang that would definitely be best.
So right, beef.
Today we’re using 350 grams of round–top round specifically, but this dish isn’t overly picky.
Just trim your beef, then slice it into about two-millimeter sheets against the grain.
For this and many other Chinese beef dishes– that thinness will be critical.
Especially with a cut like round, it could easily get chewy if left too thick.
So Then, we can marinate that.
That’ll be quite similar to our standard beef marinade, but we’ll be skipping the salt and going in with a teaspoon of sugar,
a teaspoon of cornstarch, a half teaspoon dark soy sauce, and one teaspoon liaojiu a.k.a. Shaoxing wine.
And like most fried beef dishes, we’ll also be slapping in three tablespoons of water.
This water is to ostensibly to make the beef juicier, but to be completely frank I’m not 100% sure why it actually works.
Also, quick aside that with this batch of beef we totally forgot to add a tenderizing agent like papain or baking soda, so for best
results toss in a half teaspoon of one of those as well.
Coat with a teaspoon or two of oil, and set that aside until it’s ready to fry.
Besides that, we’ll also slice up fifteen grams of dried chilis two large scallions, white and green bits separated, both cut into two-inch sections. about a sixth of an onion, cut into chunks and one mild chili, described and seeded, cut into similar sized wedges.
Now to prep our beef for the Jiang Shao we’ll be first passing it through oil, that is, giving it a super brief deep fry.
That said if you’re not in the mood feel free to just give this a quick oily stir fry instead.
But for the pass-through just get your oil up to about 160 centigrade, drop in the beef, and break it apart.
Give it a super quick 20-second fry, then take it out and let any excess oil drain off.
Now, before our final Jiang Shao, we’ll make our life easier by prepping a quick seasoning liquid at first.
That was a quarter teaspoon salt, a tablespoon and a half of sugar, two tablespoons light soy sauce, and two thirds of a cup of water.
And now, to fry.
So as always, start with a long you – get your wok piping hot, shut off the heat, add in your oil – here about three tablespoons and give it a swirl to get a nice nonstick surface.
Now, don’t turn the heat on just yet.
We’ll be adding our sauce paste at first but you do have to be careful not to scorch it.
So once it’s in, just mix it a bit, then swap the flame to medium-low.
Now fry that for about two minutes, or until it’s mostly combined with the oil, then toss in your sliced chilis and scallion whites.
Quick fifteen-second fry, then swap the flame to high and go in with that seasoning liquid from before.
Give it a good mix, then once you’re looking at a light simmer, toss in your beef.
Arrange the beef pieces and let everything come up to a boil, roughly one minute, then let that cook in the bubbling sauce for one
Toss in the onion and pepper, quick mix, then go in with a slurry of a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of water.
A quick note that if you’re using that traditional Sichuan tianjiang cut the slurry quantity in half, cuz that thickens better than miso.
Now just toss in the scallion greens, quick mix, and out.
Sauce fried beef, done.
Uh, so we did beef here.