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Cumin Beef 孜然牛肉

Friday, 16 December 2011

This dish is not for the faint-hearted.

Cumin Beef 孜然牛肉

This is a popular Hunan dish and the recipe is adapted from Sunflower Food Galore.  The beef is deep-fried, twice then stir-fried in more oil. But if you can get past that, the result is rewarding. The beef is tender and packed full of wonderful aromatic flavours.

Deep frying the beef twice is to ensure tenderness on the interior while caramelisation on the exterior of the beef. The beef will take much longer to caramelise if it's deep-fried only once and the beef will shrink more and become tough. 'Pre-soaking' the ingredients in oil is a method widely used in Chinese cooking. The temperature of the oil can be heated to temperatures well above the boiling point of water, and can therefore dehydrate, dry and brown the surface quickly while leaving the meat moist. 

Cumin Beef 孜然牛肉

Cumin Beef 孜然牛肉

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Marinate time: 1 hr-overnight
Cook time: 15 mins
Yield: serves 2

  • 400 g beef - thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups oil (for deep frying)
  • 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorn
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic - grated/ minced
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 stalk spring onion - diced
  • 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tbs Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • Mix together beef and all marinade ingredients. Leave to marinate for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.
  • In a small bowl, mix together Szechuan peppercorn, cumin, chili flakes, ginger and garlic. Leave aside for later use.
  • Heat up oil in a wok/ pot for deep frying. Add beef and stir the beef to ensure the pieces do not stick together. Remove beef onto a large metal sieve to drain once the meat changes colour.
  • Wait till the oil is smoking again, add drained beef into hot oil again. Fry the beef until the beef is caramelised around the edges. Remove beef and drain on the same large metal sieve.
  • Drain oil from wok and leave about 3 tbs of oil in the wok.
  • Heat up oil then add the bowl of spices and aromatics. Fry until fragrant.
  • Mix in beef and sesame seeds. Season to taste if necessary. Remove from heat once mixed.
  • Garnish with spring onions and serve.
Cumin Beef 孜然牛肉

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