Sichuan is a southwestern Chinese province and is also the name of its hot and spicy cuisine, which makes good and occasionally exuberant use of chilli. The Sichuan pepper itself is not hot or pungent but has a slight lemon flavour that produces a strange tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation, setting the stage for the chilli. It appears to act on several different kinds of nerve endings at once, inducing sensitivity to touch and cold and causing a kind of general pleasant neurological confusion.

METHOD

  1. Combine the soy suace, Shaoxing rice wine, oyster sauce, Sichuan pepper, cayenne and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl.
  2. Add the beef, mix well, cover and leave to stand for 30 minutes
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a wok over a high heat. Drain the beef thoroughly, taking care to reserve the marinade. Add the drained beef to the wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes until caramelised.
  4. Tip in the spring onions and chillies and stir-fry until just done and still crisp.
  5. Add the reserved marinade and continue to cook until heated through, for about 30 seconds.
  6. Serve with grated preserved plum sprinkled over the top and with steamed white rice.