Sichuan (Szechuan) Beef

Szechuan Spicy Beef
Getty Images/Sarah Bossert
Ratings (24)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
276 Calories
13g Fat
5g Carbs
34g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this Sichuan recipe, the beef is dry fried, making it chewy and crispy. If you like, you can replace one of the carrots with 1/2 cup of julienned celery. Feel free to make the dish spicier by adding more chili paste or sauce if desired.


  • 1 pound beef (such as flank or sirloin steak)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 scallions (white parts only)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet bean sauce (or substitute hoisin sauce)
  • 3 teaspoons chili paste or chili sauce
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons oil for stir frying (or as needed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ​Sichuan peppercorns

Steps to Make It

Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices less than 1/4-inch thick and 2 1/2 to 3 inches long.

Wash, peel, and julienne the carrots into thin strips about 1/8-inch thick and 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. Mince the ginger. Cut the scallion into pieces about 2 1/2 inches long and then into thin shreds.

In a small bowl, combine the bean sauce and chili paste or chili sauce. Set aside.

Heat the wok on medium-high for at least 30 seconds. The wok is ready when you can feel the heat when holding the palm of your hand 2 to 3 inches above the wok's surface.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to the heated wok by drizzling it down the sides. When the oil is hot, add the julienned carrots. Stir fry for 2 minutes, stirring in the salt. Do not let the carrots bown. Remove from the wok.

Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil in the wok over medium-high to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef.

Stir fry for approximately 10 minutes, until the beef is crispy and dark brown and chewy (you will hear the beef sizzle as it dries out). Splash the beef with the rice wine or dry sherry during the later stages of cooking.

Push the beef up to the sides and drain all but 2 tablespoons from the wok. Add the sauce mixture. Stir fry for a few seconds, then add the ginger and scallions. Stir fry for a few more seconds until aromatic, then return the carrots to the wok.

Stir in the sugar and Sichuan peppercorns. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

Serve hot with a bowl of rice.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • In many Asian recipes, a technique known as dry frying is used. This means cooking an item in a large amount of hot oil to dry out the interior and concentrate the flavor. After the initial drying stage, the food item is briefly stir fried with other seasonings and ingredients. The dried item will then easily soak up the sauce.