The recipe of making Hunan Beef greatly varies from one location to another. Sometimes, from one restaurant to another. I will here below discuss one Hunan beef recipe or two for you to compare and decide on the one which is most appealing. To indulge your taste buds in this delicious dish in its most authentic form, you would have to visit China. However, you need not worry as it can also be prepared from the comfort of your own home with proper following of the set instructions.
Authentic Hunan Beef Recipe
It is only natural that I begin with the original beef recipe in Hunan before moving on to another version. I guarantee that once you have tasted this delicacy, you shall not want for any other kind of Hunan beef. I shall however, leave that decision in your hands, mine is only to direct you. Authentic Hunan beef has a smoky feel to it and is extremely spicy. The smoky feel is due to the smoke dried beef used. It is however, rare to get such meat in this time and era and therefore vital that you get creative to come close to achieving that flavor.
You have probably heard of the famous Sichuan cooking and might be wondering what in the works Hunan is about. Well, they both have peppers in common. You heard that right, their cooking involves addition of pepper to the maximum. If you have tasted beef or any other Sichuan dish, the amount of pepper present must have been overwhelming. Hunan cooking goes beyond that! Unlike Sichuan dishes whose hot pepper has a sort of numbing effect, Hunan beef will have you tasting the pepper in all its glory. You will probably need a cold drink by your side to accompany your meal.
On to the recipe. For any Hunan dish to be perfect, sampled varieties of peppers have to be availed. Some sweet and moderately spicy, and others overly spicy. If not a major fun of overly spicy pepper, Holland or Poblano peppers would be a good choice. If you enjoy your dish spicy and hot, Jalapenos will give you exactly that. For this Hunan beef recipe, a mixture of different peppers will be used.
Hunan Beef Recipe Instruction
First, gather the ingredients you will require for this dish. The main elements are meat, water, starch, baking soda and traditional hoisin sauce. The others are green bell peppers, fresh and dry chili peppers, banana and Holland peppers, garlic, ginger, black vinegar, cooking wine, scallions, sugar, cooking oil, red onions, black beans which have been fermented, and white pepper.
Once all your ingredients are ready, begin by marinating the beef in the main elements save for the starch, ensure it have been well covered by the mixture and leave to rest for at least half an hour. When the meat has been fully marinated, lightly coat in starch, preferably corn starch and place aside. Proceed to prepare you onions, scallion, ginger, black beans and garlic and also set aside. Next go on and prepare you sauce by mixing little portions of sugar and water, then add the ground white pepper, vinegar, and soy sauce. Thoroughly mix the sauce elements and put aside.
With all your ingredients ready, begin by cooking your meat. The cooking oil should be enough to fully deep fry the meat until it caramelizes. Once ready remove from the pan and place aside as you move to the next task. Remove the excess cooking oil from you pan then proceed to add ginger. Cook the ginger for about a minute before adding onions. cook until golden brown. Throw in a mixture of the fresh peppers save for the Hollands and cook for a minute. Push the mixture to one side of the pan and add the dried pepper and cook for 30 seconds. After that, sprinkle cooking wine on the mixture then add you Holland peppers, garlic and black beans. Cook the mixture on high heat for about one minute before adding the meat you had fried and set aside.
Next pour in your sauce and proceed to stir-fry for 30 seconds on very high heat. At this juncture you can add your scallions while you continue frying until all the sauce is almost dry. The perfect Hunan dish is soup-less and therefore when satisfied with the amount of moisture left, remove your pan from the stove. Your Hunan Beef is ready, serve while hot and accompany it with a bowl of steamed white rice.
Chef’s Note: For a spicier feel in your meal, throw in the dry chilies together with the onions instead of later.
Garlic Hunan Beef Recipe
This a popular food in many Chinese restaurants worldwide. The dish infused with garlic, chilies, Shaoxing wine and ginger, stir-fried together with meat. Unlike the authentic Chinese beef recipe, this one does not incorporate a variety of pepper but instead uses only dry Thai chilies and black pepper. The rest of the ingredients in this beef recipe are vegetable oil, sauce and corn starch. For garnishing which is optional, use sesame seeds.
Marinate and Cook
Mix the beef with soy sauce, ginger garlic, wines, chilies and pepper and put in a ziplock bag. Leave for at least 3 hours or overnight depending on the time available. On high heat, add vegetable oil to your pan and heat until there is smoke. Extract your beef from the marinade and cook until crispy. After that, thrown in the rest of the marinating elements and cook for a minute. Continue stirring until almost all the sauce is evaporated before removing from the stove. And just like that, your Hunan beef is ready. Serve while hot in accompaniment of steamed white rice and broccoli.
You have realized that authentic aforementioned recipe is very different from the garlic Hunan beef recipe. They are however, both great ways in which you can enjoy your beef and right from the comfort of your home. The various types of peppers and chilies incorporated in the meals are sure to cause you to sweat if unaccustomed to them. The tastes will leave your taste buds in a state of disbelief but the wondrous flavors are surely worth it. To enjoy the Hunan dishes, you require ample time for preparation and marinating. The cooking takes a few quick minutes hence proper preparation in advanced required.