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A bowl of Sichuan boiled beef
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5 from 7 votes

Sichuan boiled beef (Shui Zhu Niu Rou, 水煮牛肉)

Sichuan boiled beef (Shui Zhu Niu Rou) is super tasty and addictive. This detailed recipe shows you how to achieve the best texture & flavour.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Beef
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 410kcal
Author: Wei Guo


For the beef

  • 300 g beef 10oz, see note 1
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce or regular soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the spicy topping

  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 1 handful dried chillies, seeds removed see note 2
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns see note 3

For the vegetables

  • half Romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful bean sprouts

For the broth

  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon Sichuan chilli bean paste see note 4
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder or to taste
  • 500 ml unsalted stock or water 2 cups

For the garnish

  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • coriander, chopped


Marinate the beef

  • Cut the beef, against the grain, into thin slices (about 2mm).
  • Put them into a mixing bowl. Add salt, Shaoxing rice wine, dark soy sauce, egg, cornstarch and water.
  • Rub and mix with hands until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add sesame oil then stir well.

Fry the spicy topping

  • Add oil, dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns in a wok.
  • Fry over low heat until fragrant (do not burn).
  • Transfer onto a chopping board. Chop small then set aside.

Fry the vegetables

  • Put romaine lettuce and bean sprouts in the same wok.
  • Fry with the remaining oil over medium heat until they lightly wilt.
  • Transfer to the serving bowl and set aside.

Prepare the broth

  • Pour oil into the wok. Add ginger, garlic, Sichuan chilli bean paste and chilli powder. Fry over low heat until fragrant.
  • Pour in stock/water. Cook over high heat until it starts boiling.

Cook the beef

  • Turn the heat to medium. Add marinated beef, one piece at a time.
  • Simmer until fully cooked (no pinkness on the surface).
  • Pour the beef and stock onto the vegetables.

Sizzle & garnish

  • Place minced garlic & chopped spicy topping over the beef.
  • Heat up the oil in the wok (cleaned and dried) until smoking. Pour it over the garlic & spices.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve immediately with plain rice.



1. You may use any cuts of beef (except for some tough cuts for stewing dishes). I quite like thick rib which is an inexpensive cut, yet very flavourful and tender enough for this dish (when marinated properly).
2. Choose dried chillies that suit your level of tolerance to spiciness. I use two types of Chinese dried chillies for this dish:
  • Facing heaven chilli (Chao Tian Jiao/朝天椒) which has a quite high heat level.
  • Lantern chilli (Deng Long Jiao/灯笼椒) which is mild in heat but very fragrant. 
3. You may use regular red Sichuan peppercorns or the green variety. Please refer to my post “Sichuan pepper: your questions answered” to learn more about this unique Chinese spice.
4. Sichuan chilli bean paste (Doubanjiang/豆瓣酱, aka spicy broad bean paste) is widely used in Sichuan cuisine and can be purchased in most Chinese stores. The best-known variety is Pixian Douban (郫县豆瓣) which needs to be coarsely chopped prior to cooking.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 410kcal