STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Slice the beef into 1/4 of an inch thick slaps. Then stack the slaps together and cut them into 1/4 of an inch thick strips. You can use other cuts such as flank steak, beef chuck, shoulder top blade...
Marinade it with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of 5 spice powder, 1 tsp of sugar, 1/3 tsp of baking powder, it breaks down the meat fiber and tenderizes the beef. Continue by adding 1 tbsp of soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp of dark soy sauce. Grate 1 tsp of ginger and 1 clove of garlic. Mix well and set it aside.
This is Chinese celery(芹菜). Remove all the green leaves. We only need the stems in this recipe. Discard the root. Cut the stalks into 2.5 inches long. Let me show you the stem. It is so thin and curved into round, hollow stalks. It smells so stronger - like 10 times of the western celery. However, If you don’t have access to buy it, regular celery will work as well.
This is a classic Sichuan dish so we will need some dried red chilies (6-10 pieces), cut them open by using a pair of scissors. Since the beef and the celery are like thin strips, I open up the chilies lengthwise into strips as well. The sieve is helpful to discard the seeds.
On the side here I have some ginger strips, a few cloves of garlic that I sliced thinly, and 2 scallions that I cut into stalks.
Turn the heat to high and heat your wok until smoking hot. Add a generous amount of oil to the wok; swirl it around so the oil covers the bottom. Add the beef strips and spread it out. Let it pan fry for 20 seconds. Give it a rough flip and pan-fry the other side. stir the beef over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. This is the difference between regular stir fry. Normally, we like to cook the meat over high heat for a short time so you don’t over cook it. For this recipe, not only you have to cook the beef all the way done, but also, you want to stir until the surface is slightly charred. There will be lots of mallard reaction happening and the flavor will be more complex and concentrated. That’s also why we cut the beef into strips. If you cut it into slices, it will be a bit chewy.
Switch the heat to low. Push the beef to the side. Add a tbsp of Sichuan Dou Ban Jiang, stir on low heat until the oil becomes bright red
Add the ginger strips, garlic slices, seeded dried red chilies, and the celery stalks. Stir for a couple of minutes. I like to use the beef to cover the celery and let it cook a little bit. Mix everything together. Add a few splash of Chinese cooking wine from the side of the wok. A little bit of liquid will deglaze the bottom so you don’t waste any the flavor.
Add the scallion. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorn powder or to taste. Stir thoroughly and you are done.