Meat Dishes

Water-boiled Beef

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7 oz. round of beef
5 oz. Chinese cabbage leaves (or asparagus lettuce or cucumber)
2 oz. garlic seedling
2 tablespoons chillies
20 grains Chinese peppercorn
1.1/2 tablespoons broad-bean hot sauce of Sichuan
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon gourmet powder
4 tablespoons cooking wine
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons lard
2 tablespoons scallion white (cut in lengths)
1 teaspoon minced ginger root
1 egg

1) Cut beef across the grain into slices 1/8 inch thick. Tear cabbage leaves into pieces. (In the case of asparagus lettuce or cucumber, cut into thin slices about 3 inches long.) Trim chillies of stems and seeds and cut into lengths. Cut split garlic seedling and then into lengths.

2) Season beef slices with salt (1/4 teaspoon), gourmet powder (1/4 teaspoon), cooking wine (2 tablespoons) and egg; coat with cornflour (diluted with water).

3) Heat wok on fire; melt and heat lard. Fry the peppercorn and chillies till dark purple. Remove, drain and chop fine.

Set wok, with oil in which peppercorn and chillies have been fried, again on fire. Stir-fry broad-bean hot sauce and minced ginger until oil becomes red. Pour in 3.1/2 cups of boiling water and let it boil for 5-6 minutes. Use a strainer to remove and throw away dregs of chilli, etc. Add soya sauce, salt (1/4 teaspoon), gourmet powder (1/4 teaspoon) and cooking wine (2 tablespoons). Bring stock to a rolling boil. Place in seasoned beef slices and cabbage leaves, scattering them. When the stock boils again, transfer it to a big soup bowl and sprinkle on top the chilli and peppercorn mash, garlic seedling and scallion.

4) Heat sesame oil in a clean pan until it smokes. Pour it on top of the beef soup.

Notes:

(1) This is a popular Sichuan recipe, and the result may be either a dish or a soup, depending on the amount of water poured in.

(2) The beef prepared this way is tender and tasty, and the soup is appetizing with its hot, prickly and appealing flavor.

(3) Lean pork may be used instead of beef to make "Water-Boiled Pork".

Whether it is beef or pork, it should be boiled only till the stock boils again. Over-boiling will make the meat tough.

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