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A popular street food from the historic city of Xi’an, spiced beef flatbread is crispy, flavourful and very comforting. A treat worth every bit of effort.
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5 from 7 votes

Spiced beef flatbread (香酥牛肉饼)

A popular street food from the historic city of Xi’an, spiced beef flatbread is crispy, flavourful and very comforting. A treat worth every bit of effort.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Rest30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Beef, Bread
Servings: 10 pieces
Author: Wei Guo

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g all-purpose flour
  • 300 ml water see note 1
  • cooking oil for coating the dough

For the beef

For the flour & oil mix

  • 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pinch salt

You also need

  • 4 stalk scallions finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper or other spices, see note 2
  • cooking oil for frying

Instructions

Make the dough

  • Put flour, water and salt in a deep bowl. Combine with hands into a dough. Leave to rest for 10 mins. Then knead until soft and smooth (if using a stand mixer with a dough hook, knead around 8 mins on low speed).
  • Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Coat each piece with oil. Cover with clingfilm. Leave to rest for 20 mins.

Prepare the beef

  • Put minced beef, water, rice wine and salt in a bowl. Swirl constantly in the same direction until no more liquid can be seen.
  • Divide the meat into 10 portions. Set aside.

Make the flour & oil mix

  • Put the flour into a bowl. Heat up the oil in a pan until it smokes.
  • Pour hot oil onto the flour. Stir well then set aside (see note 3).

Assemble the flatbread (see images in the post above)

  • Take one piece of dough. Flatten it with your fingers into a tennis racket shape (see note 4).
  • Brush the flour & oil mixture over. Sprinkle with ground Sichuan pepper. Place one portion of the meat on the racket head end of the dough, then top with scallions.
  • Wrap the meat with the outer part of the pastry, then roll the dough into a cylinder shape.
  • Stand the cylinder on one end. Press it down with your fingers until it’s about 1 cm thick.

Fry the flatbread

  • Heat up the oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Place the flatbreads into the pan (You may need to fry them in two batches in a big frying pan).
  • Cover with a lid. Cook over medium heat. Turn the flatbread over when the first side becomes golden brown.
  • When the second side is done, transfer the flatbread onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm.

Notes

1. The flour and water ratio may vary slightly depends on the brand. Adjust accordingly. The finished dough should be very soft but not sticky.
2. You may replace Sichuan pepper with Chinese five-spice, cumin powder or freshly ground black pepper. They are equally delicious.
3. The flour & oil mix is to ensure the finished bread has clear layers. And it adds some flavour too. It can be substituted with pure oil if you wish.
4. Pour a few drops of oil onto the dough if it becomes sticky.