Peppery Beef

For a less biting dish, forgo the chili paste and substitute ground black pepper for the Szechwan peppercorn.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 50 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • ¼ tsp. Szechwan peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1¼ tsp. sugar, divided
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ lb. flank steak, shredded
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ¼ tsp. chili paste
  • 1 medium green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ head Napa cabbage, shredded


  • In a large, heavy skillet on medium to medium-low heat, brown peppercorns, shaking the pan occasionally, until peppercorns are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool, then grind peppercorns in a spice or coffee grinder. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine, ¼ teaspoon sugar, baking soda, and beef. Marinate beef for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine chicken stock, dark soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a preheated wok or medium skillet. When oil is hot, add beef and stir-fry until it changes color and is nearly cooked through, 3–4 minutes. Remove from wok and drain on paper towels.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to wok. Add garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add green onion and chili pepper and stir-fry briefly until they have a bright color and are tender.
  • Add prepared sauce to middle of the wok and bring to a boil. Stir in sesame oil. Add beef and ground peppercorns. Mix everything through. Serve hot over shredded Napa cabbage.