BETTER THAN TAKEOUT – Authentic Pepper Steak (杭椒牛柳)
Cut the beef into 1/4 of an inch thick slabs. Then, slice each slab into 1/4 of an inch wide strips. Beef tenderloin is pretty expensive, so if you want to go with cheaper cuts, that is ok too, you just need to add 1/4 tsp of baking soda to the marinade to tenderize the meat.
- Marinade the beef with 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tsp of dark soy sauce, some black pepper to taste, and 1 tsp of cornstarch. Add a drizzle of cooking oil to coat the beef to prevent it from sticking to the wok.
- Use a meat tenderizer to smash the green pepper lightly. Slice them with a 45-degree angle. It is actually hard to make authentic pepper steak because you can’t get Hang Zhou pepper in the USA. What I am using is this Korean long hot pepper which gives a similar taste. If you can't handle spicy food, it is ok to use bell pepper.
- Besides the chili, you will also need two cloves of garlic and 1/2 inch ginger. Slice them thinly.
- Turn the heat to high and heat the wok until smoking hot. Add 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil. Lossen up the beef before adding it to the wok so they don’t tangle together. The wok is super-hot. You only need to stir this for a minute or two. Once all the beef is changed color, turn off the heat. Take the beef out. Be sure to tilt the wok so you can leave the oil in there.
- Turn the heat back to medium-low. Toss in the garlic, ginger, and pepper. Stir for a few minutes. Add 3/4 tsp salt. Green peppers like that really need some salt to balance the spiciness and bring out the flavor.
- Once the chili becomes a bit soft, you can introduce the beef back into the wok. Turn the heat to high. Add a few shakes of 5-spice powder or 13 spice powder. Drizzle some Chinese cooking wine from the side of the wok. Keep stirring for a minute or 2. You are done.