The McDonald’s Szechuan sauce frenzy that once dominated menus in 1998 made its impactful return in 2018. Since then, Sichuan province products, including Szechuan beef, have become a staple in Canadian restaurants and households. If you’re keen on hopping onto the Szechuan train, here is everything you need to know about the sweet and spicy delicacy.
What is Szechuan Beef?
Szechuan beef is a stir-fry dish that also takes the occasional form of a deluxe rice bowl. The meat is first cut into thin strips and marinated. A chef then fries it alongside ingredients such as broccoli, peanuts, onions, and water chestnuts to enhance its flavour.
Before cooking the beef, a chef marinates it in a combination of soy sauce, cornstarch, crushed red bell pepper, and garlic for approximately 20 minutes. Then, depending on the dish, a chef adds ginger, baby corn, and pea pods into the stir-fry.
Why Do Chefs Stir-Fry Szechuan Beef?
Stir-frying a dish pertains to shallow-frying ingredients in a wok to cook them. A chef frequently stirs to ensure that they cook all the ingredients evenly. The Szechuan beef is the first to make it into the stir-fry as it takes the longest to cook.
Vital to the outcome of a Szechuan stir-fry is marinating the beef before cooking it. Chefs concoct a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, crushed red pepper, and cornstarch. They then pour the mixture over the meat, allowing it to absorb for 20 minutes.
Some chefs will opt to add wine or rice wine into the marinade for an extra punch. Ultimately, it’s up to a chef to decide what additional ingredients they want to utilize to create a unique dish.
Other Ingredients That Complement Szechuan Beef
A typical Szechuan dish will contain peanuts, water chestnuts, broccoli, and onion. However, some like to garnish and enhance their dish with dried chillies, black vinegar, sesame oil, bell peppers, and carrots.
A Little Bit About the Sichuan Province
As we mentioned above, the enigmatic Szechuan beef hails from the Sichuan province, where spice and rich flavours are hallmark tastes. Szechuan food aims to marry every flavour, from sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent.
Because the Sichuan province rests on hills, mountains, plains, and plateaus, it is rich in versatile and distinct ingredients that have since become staples in Szechuan cuisine. Various Szechuan dishes might also highlight bovine and porcine meat and organs, such as the liver, intestine, tongue, skin, and arteries.
It is best known for its Szechuan peppercorns, which are intensely fragrant and citrusy, providing the tingle-numbing kick in a Szechuan beef stir-fry rice bowl. sIts star ingredients are garlic, chilli, ginger, and star anise, making an appearance in the dish.
Szechuan beef isn’t for the faint of heart. What we mean is—the dish packs some mad spice! Authentic Szechuan bowls don’t hold back. If you’re giving it a try for the first time, hold onto your seat—and your palette!
Get your Szechuan deluxe rice bowl delivered straight to your doorstep from us at Rice Bowl Deluxe. Our dishes are so authentic that English is a second language in our kitchen, where we pay homage to traditional Szechuan flavours.