Szechuan Red-cooked Noodles and Beef

You need a large flat pan or skillet for this. Heat it over high heat until really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and add 4 tablespoons oil. Add 1 teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns, and stir them into the oil for 1 minute. Then remove the peppercorns. Turn the heat back up to full blast.

Add 2 scallions, 4 slices ginger, and about 1 lb of beef. Shin steak is suggested, but I’d say anything that’s not ground or stewing should be fine. Cut the beef into chunks, about 1 inch cubes. No, cut the beef before adding it to the hot oil, you nitwit. Stir fry in the pan for 45 seconds.

Add this sauce:

5 tablespoons dark/thick soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine or sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon hot bean paste.

Chili sauce is also fine.

Stir the sauce and beef together. Add 6 cups of boiling water, and 2 whole star anise. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

In the meantime, boil some noodles. Whatever looks closest to Lo Mein noodles. Definitely not egg noodles. I’ve used fettuccine, and that’s worked well.

When the simmering is done, turn the heat back up to high, and add the noodles, and let it come to a boil. Then turn the heat back down and simmer again, but only for about 5 minutes this time.

-Liz Kellner