Spiced Cold Beef

"This delicious cold spiced beef was a re-creation of an old memory that haunted my family periodically" after the restaurant where they had eaten it closed, writes Mai Leung in her book "Dim Sum and Other Chinese Street Food." I haven't tried this but am posting it because I know other members, or perhaps other people surfing the Web, are interested in Muslim style Chinese recipes. Many Chinese people use pork to flavor dishes, by Muslims cannot eat pork for religious reasons, so Chinese Muslim food focuses on beef and lamb. She suggests serving with Chinese egg noodles that have been cooked, cooled, and tossed lightly with oil to prevent sticking. These are supposed to be appetizer servings.


  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup raw peanuts, skins removed
  • 4 ounces ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons szechwan bean sauce (regular, not hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground szechwan pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons black soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steaks or tender beef
  • 1 cup celery, in thin strips 1 . 5 inches long
  • 1/2 cup scallion, in thin strips 1 . 5 inches long
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, in strips
  • 1/2 cup watercress    

  • Directions

  • 1
    Heat 1 cup oil in wok to deep-fry temperature, then deep-dry peanuts over medium-low heat until golden brown.

  • 2
    Remove the peanuts with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on paper towels to drain and cool.

  • 3
    Put the cooled peanuts in a small plastic bag or between two towels, then roll a rolling pin over them to crush coarsely; set crushed peanuts aside for later use.

  • 4
    Mix the cayenne, Szechwan peppercorn, sugar, garlic, vinegar, black soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl.

  • 5
    Remove all but two tablespoons of oil from the wok. Heat this oil, and when it is hot, add the ground beef.

  • 6
    Stir and cook the beef until done.

  • 7
    Stir in the bean sauce, then the sauce mixture you have just made.

  • 8
    Mix well, then turn off the heat.

  • 9
    This meat sauce can be prepared a few hours in advance.

  • 10
    Fill a big pot with enough water to cover your piece of beef.

  • 11
    Add the bay leaves to the water and bring to a rapid boil.

  • 12
    Add meat and cook over medium heat until done to your taste - medium rare should be about 10 minutes.

  • 13
    Remove meat and pat dry.

  • 14
    Place the meat on a cutting board and slice into thin pieces, as you would for roast beef.

  • 15
    Arrange the slices on a serving platter, slightly overlapping each other.

  • 16
    Garnish with celery, scallions, red pepper, and watercress.

  • 17
    Pour the meat sauce over evenly, then sprinkle crushed peanuts on top.

  • 18
    Serve at room temperature, perhaps with noodles.