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Szechuan Beef

Szechuan Beef - easy and delicious beef stir-fried with red and green bell peppers, in a mildy spicy savory sauce, so yummy! |

Szechuan Beef Recipe

Szechuan Beef – easy and delicious beef stir-fried with red and green bell peppers, in a mildy spicy savory sauce, so yummy! |
Prep Time: | Cook Time: | Total Time:


2 tablespoons oil
8 oz beef, cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 small green bell pepper, cut into long strips
1/4 small red bell pepper, cut into long trips
1-2 baby carrots, cut into matchstick strips
1/2 teaspoon chili oil (bottled chili oil), optional
2 stalks scallions, cut into 2-inch strips


1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce


1/2 heaping tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Marinate the beef with all the ingredients in the Marinade, for 15 minutes.

Combine all the ingredients in the Sauce, stir and mix well, set aside.

Heat up a wok and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is fully heated, add the beef and do a few quick stirs, until the surface turns opaque and slightly charred. Transfer out and set aside.

Clean the wok and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is fully heated, add the garlic and stir-fry until aromatic. Add all the peppers and carrots and stir a few times before adding the beef back into the wok. Add the Sauce and stir to combine well. Stir in the scallion and chili oil, dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Szechuan Beef
Szechuan Beef pictures (3 of 4)

Over the years, many American readers have requested Szechuan beef recipe on Rasa Malaysia. For those who have been waiting for this popular American-Chinese dish, this is the recipe I developed specifically for you. The reason I said so is because I have never had American-style Szechuan beef until very recently.

Szechuan beef, much like beef and broccoli, is not found in China. There is a Sichuan poached beef in a fiery chili-oil sauce, called 水煮牛肉, or literally “Water Cooked Beef” that looks like this picture. The Szechuan beef dishes found in in the US are mostly stir-fried beef in a mildly spicy sauce with assortment of vegetables. Every Chinese restaurant or Chinese buffets here has their own rendition of Szechuan beef.

Szechuan Beef

This Szechuan beef is my take on PF Chang’s version. The beef is thinly sliced and marinated with cornstarch so as to achieve a velvety and tender texture, which is highly prized in Chinese cuisine. The sauce is a tad spicy, savory, and slightly sweet. The end result is good with steamed rice and I hope you will enjoy my concoction.

If you love American-Chinese food, I have a lot of popular Chinese recipes here on Rasa Malaysia, for example: sweet and sour pork, chow mein, egg drop soup, cashew chicken, Chinese honey chicken, egg foo young, and so much more. Click here to check out all my Chinese recipes.

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38 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Marin D

    This looks tasty. And thanks for mixing in these American-Chinese dishes. I love the authentic stuff as well as these other varieties. It is nice to get a little of both worlds. :)

  2. Darryl Snow

    Actually sounds a little bit like a genuine and very common [si]chuan dish 鱼香肉丝 / fish-flavoured meat (pork) strips. It’s got pretty much the same ingredients – no fish but the salty taste comes from the oyster sauce.

  3. janet

    While you are correct that the usual dish offered as “Szechuan beef” is a fairly insipid stir fry, my husband worked most of several years in Taiwan in the early 70s, coming home for a bit every couple of months. He developed a passion for Szechuan style recipes and one of his favorites was for a spicy “dry-fried” beef dish he titled Szechuan beef. I’ve spent several hours unsuccessfully going through my old cookbooks looking for it, but it was essentially strips of marinated beef (patted dry) fried in deep fat until crisp and chewy, drained, then stir fried with matchstick carrot sticks, pepper strips, and various aromatics–very spicy, and with a delicious chewy texture complemented by the still crisp carrots. Green beans cooked this way are also spectacular and could be used with the beef instead of carrots.

    When Szechuan and Hunan style restaurants became popular in the 1980s, their menus included many dishes that were much spicier than now–boy do I ever miss them. Even PF Chang’s used to spice up their now very bland recipes.

  4. paulina

    I can’t thank you enough for this recipe. I love it, and so is my husband, who doesn’t usually like Chinese food. I double the sauce and serve it with Chinese noodles.

  5. ProtheFessor

    Nice recipe but not really from Sichuan, it does not have the trademark “Mala 麻辣” hotness as there are no Szechuan peppercorns included. It also does not have any doubanjiang so the flavor of the sauce is not “Yuxiang 鱼香”. I’d say this is more of Cantonese/Southern Chinese take on the Szechuan dried-fried shredded beef “干煸牛肉絲 Gan Bian Niu Rou Si”.

    • Yes, correct. Most of the Chinese restaurants in the US is opened by Cantonese or Southern Chinese. But it’s called Szechuan beef in the Chinese restaurants here in the US. I know the real Szechuan beef is not like this.

  6. Dear Rasa,
    So, what does the cornstarch actually DO to the meat? You make it sound like it has some effect on tenderizing, rather than being a thickener for the sauce. I have always been curious about why they marinate with cornstarch.

    W/a Smile, Tiana

  7. Dan

    You can try adding a bit of egg mixture to the marinate on top of the cornstarch. It helps make the meat even more tender.

  8. elfmirfkin

    I doubled this recipe tonight for family dinner. I mostly kept it the same except I left out the oyster sauce and substituted a small splash of fish sauce. I also added quite a lot more chilli oil, the kind with crunched up chillies, because no matter how hot I make it, it’s not hot enough at my house. Ever. I also added szechuan peppercorn, ground, about half a teaspoon. It was absolutely delicious.

    Still not hot enough for my wife though. I put in three heaping tablespoon of chili oil,too. I was sweating and my mouth was numb. I will be making this again.

  9. Mj

    Hi rasa.. Was just wondering.. Can I substitute the beef for chicken?? And also, do Chinese noodles have another name?? Because I don’t seem to find them here in the supermarkets! Thanks

  10. savera

    i would love to try this scrumptious looking recip, however, I can not use wine …can you please suggest an alternative to wine?

  11. Daniel

    I loved it!!! My wife said it is too spicy. How should I compromise to make it suitable for the both of us. Thank you so much! Delish!!!!

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