Spicy Sichuan Beef Stew (Chinese Comfort Food)

Updated on April 5, 2017
Spicy Beef Stew
Spicy Beef Stew

Spicy Sichuan Beef Stew

Beef dishes are more common in Sichuan than in most other Chinese cuisines because of the prevalence of oxen there, and beef stew is considered to be a comfort food where everyone has thier own secret blend of spices.

The following recipe contains all of the necessary basic ingredients, but other spices such as cinnamon, fennel seed, cloves, black cardamom and even dried orange peel are sometimes added.

This recipe is an example of what is called "red cooking" by the Chinese. This type of cooking involves braising meat in liquid for long periods of time until it becomes tender and takes on a brownish color from the soy sauce and other ingredients in which it is cooked. The term "red cooking" is used in place of "brown cooking" because red is a happy color in China.

The Chinese generally use the cheaper, tougher cuts of beef to make this dish, but I use regular stew meat. You can use any size pieces of meat but I normally cut my beef into one-inch square by one-half inch thick chunks. I recommend that the first time that you cook this dish you use the basic ingredients listed below. In future preparations you can experiment with some of the spices that I previously listed.

Rather than cooking in a frying pan or a wok, I suggest that you use a Dutch oven or a covered baking dish. It is probably easier to finish this dish in a 250 F oven than to try to keep it from burning on top of the stove.

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

Cooking Time: 2 Hours at 250 F


Beef Mixture:

  • 2 Lbs. of Beef Stew Meat
  • 3 Tablespoons Sichuan Sweet Bean Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Sichuan Chili Bean Sauce

(Mix in a bowl)

Sauce Mixture:

  • 4 Tablespoons Black Soy Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sichuan Flower Peppercorn Powder
  • 4 Whole Star Anise
  • About 3 Cups of Water
  • 6 Tablespoons of Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon minced Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 Tablespoon minced Garlic
  • 6 Chopped Scallions including the green parts

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or baking dish and add the 6 tablespoons of oil. Cook the ginger, garlic, and scallions for two minutes.
  2. Add the beef mixture and cook on all sides until it loses its red color.
  3. Add the sauce mixture and the water and mix well. Cook for about two hours until the meat is tender, mixing occasionally to prevent sticking. There should be about 1-1/2 cups of sauce left. You can add water if necessary.
  4. Serve with noodles or rice.

Chinese Comfort Food

4 stars from 1 rating of Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew

Sichuan Spicy Beef Stew

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Spicy Beef StewStew Meat Preparation Stew Meat Browning
Spicy Beef Stew
Spicy Beef Stew
Stew Meat Preparation
Stew Meat Preparation
Stew Meat Browning
Stew Meat Browning

Chinese Beef Stew (not mine)


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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      I served this for a large dinner party. It was a great hit.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      This sounds very nice, rj. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      Looks really good. Bookmarked for easy reference.