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The beef dish that leaves a tingle on your tongue
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

You can call it a peppercorn all you like, but the peppery ingredient that puts the buzz in Sichuan-style cooking actually isn't one.

Though it resembles and is used similar to black peppercorns, Sichuan pepper isn't a peppercorn at all. Rather, it is the dried rind of the berry-like fruit of the prickly ash tree.

And you don't need to be a heat fiend to love it. Because while it does have a peppery bite, its real power is in the tingling feeling it leaves on your tongue, rather than a true heat.

In Chinese cooking, the Sichuan pepper often is used with meats and is a basic component of five-spice powder. In this weeknight-friendly beef recipe, we combine the Sichuan pepper with spicy chili garlic paste for a dish that will jumpstart your mouth. Serve it over rice or noodles. —

Sichuan beef

1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

3 tablespoons chili garlic paste

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper, crushed

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin or rice wine

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal

2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

3 scallions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Rice or noodles, cooked

Place flank steak slices in a zip-close plastic bag. Add chili garlic paste, ginger and Sichuan pepper. Seal bag, then massage seasonings into the meat. Refrigerate and allow to marinate at least 2 hours, and overnight.

When ready to cook, in a large, deep skillet or a wok over high, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add marinated beef and saute 8 minutes, or until the beef is browned and starting to dry. Add soy sauce, mirin, celery, carrots and scallions. Cook another 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp tender. Serve over noodles or rice.

Servings • 4

Source: The Associated Press

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