Friday 3 June 2016

Black Pepper Beef 黑椒牛肉

What was meant to be a post on doughnuts became a typical Chinese stir-fried. Yes, I screwed up again. My doughnuts looked like biscuit, unworthy of mention. But all for the better because this black pepper beef is so good I ate a good portion of it.

Many Chinese dishes are stir-fried and mostly in high temperature to get it fragrant. The Chinese call this "wok hei" or breath of wok, very important in Chinese cooking. The high heat fittingly brings out that peppery fragrant with a slight sting to the tongue. Do be careful though as this dish is very "heaty" in nature. So make sure you drink a lot of water or herbal tea or you might just risk getting ulcer or falling sick (the Chinese believe that too much of the "yang" element would upset the balance in the body and hence, making you sick) .

In order to make a good dish of black pepper beef, the beef has to be tender and soft to the bite. Therefore, we must be really careful not to overcook the beef. Everything must happen really fast, from searing the beef to plating. We must, therefore, prepare everything before we start. The oil must be smoky hot before we dump in our beef slices to give it a quick toss and then remove.

There are also various trade secrets to make the beef tender, one being treating the beef with baking soda. Alternatively, if you feel that having chemicals in your beef is unacceptable, you could try my method. I used the softest cut, in this case the tenderloin and treated it with a little egg white and tapioca starch or corn starch. The starch acts to seal off the beef, protecting the beef from direct contact with heat and retaining the juice. At the same time, the cooked starch also adds a silken texture encasing the beef thus giving you that tender beef that you are looking for.

If you do not like the heat from the black pepper, you could also try out this recipe with similar method of cooking: Ginger and Spring Onion Beef

Black Pepper Beef 黑椒牛肉

Serves 3 - 4 person


400 g beef tenderloin, sliced
1 large green pepper (can mix with other colours)
2 large onions, cut into wedges and peel
1/4 cup cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
5 slices ginger


1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Shao Xing rice wine
1 tbsp egg white

1 tbsp cornstarch
a dash of pepper


1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp coarse black pepper (or more)

Cooking Instructions

1. Slice beef and pat dry. Mix with all the ingredients in marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut and wash pepper and onion. Mix together ingredients for sauce except Shaoxing wine and black pepper. Set aside.

3. Heat wok with oil until smoky hot. Add beef and give it a quick toss. Quickly remove and strain. The beef should still be slightly pinkish in the middle.

4, Add in garlic and ginger to the remaining oil (can take out some if want less oil). Fry until fragrant. Then throw in green pepper and onion and continue to fry until fragrant and almost cooked. Add sauce and toss.

5. Lastly, throw in the beef. Add in black pepper and Shaoxing wine. Give it a quick toss. Remove and serve.

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