This dish is one of the better-known dishes from the Sichuan province. It is traditionally very spicy, but our version is medium in heat.
Dish is designed to be part of a banquet.
3 tangerines, mandarins or oranges
600 g rump or skirt steak, thinly sliced
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) or dry sherry
2 cm-piece ginger, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
3 spring onions, white part discarded, green part thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
6 dried red chillies
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns*
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 100°C. Peel tangerines, then using a small sharp knife, remove and discard white pith from peel. (Use fruit for another use.) Place peel on a lined oven tray. Bake for 1½ hours or until very dry*. Set aside to cool.
Soak peel in hot water for 20 minutes or until softened. Drain, reserving 60 ml liquid, and slice into julienne. Set aside.
Combine beef, 1 tbsp soy, rice wine, ginger and cornflour in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile, soak spring onions in a bowl of cold water for 2 minutes or until onions curl. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Brown beef, in 3 batches, tossing, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add remaining 1 tbsp peanut oil, chillies and peppercorns, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add two-thirds of the peel and cook for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant. Return beef to wok and toss with remaining 1 tbsp soy, the sugar, sesame oil and reserved soaking liquid. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Scatter with remaining peel and spring onion curls, and serve with rice.
* Sichuan peppercorns are the dried red-brown berries from an ash tree and are known to have a slight mouth-numbing effect. They are available from selected delis and Asian food shops.
* Dried citrus peel is available from Asian food shops, however, the flavour will not be as strong as drying fresh peel yourself.
DRINK 4 Pines Brewing Company Hefeweizen ($20 for a six-pack)
As seen in Feast magazine, Issue 10, pg70.
Photography by Derek Swalwell.