Orange Szechuan Beef and Carrots are the ultimate celebratory meal. It has fried crispy beef and the carrots soak up all the flavor from the spicy chilli sauce. Serve it with Ginger Sesame Chinese Fried Noodles for a meal you will never forget. This dish has so much flavor, your tummy will get full much sooner than you want!
This recipe is adapted BBC Food's recipe, and at my house we just refer to this dish as Chilli Beef. It's not difficult to understand why this is one of my favorite dishes. Just look at all these amazing, amazing, ingredients. I think I just got water in my mouth. Yes, yes I did.
I love this recipe so much, it was actually the very first recipe I shared on Ginger with Spice, back in August 2017. The recipe is still the same, I'm just freshening it up with better content and new photos.
Don't forget to serve it with Ginger Sesame Fried Noodles
As I also mention in my Ginger Sesame Fried Noodles recipe, these two dishes are designed to work beautifully together. That doesn't mean you have to always serve them together, but it is the very best way. And when you are serving them together, it will be extra important to prep everything beforehand.
Chop the veggies, measure the sauces, cook the noodles. The good thing here is that you can also finish frying the beef and carrots before starting frying the noodles and making the chilli sauce. It is not hard to make this dish, but it requires some prepping.
These dishes may have some unknown ingredients but...
Let me tell you, it is worth it. Trust every single ingredient in this dish!
You may think: "oh, but I don't want to buy this and that only for this recipe". This is where I'm saying you would be wrong. You only need this one recipe as an excuse, because you will be making this again and again.
My Dad had saved the BBC recipe on his VCR and watched it for literally years before we made it. And we regret it to this day. Now I make it on my own as well, we just got instantly hooked on this recipe and I always have the ingredients on hand. So don't worry about getting a big bag of Szechuan peppercorns or dark soy sauce.
And it's not like you won't have any use for these ingredients in other dishes, because you will. Like sesame oil in Chinese fried rice, dark soy sauce in vegetarian lo mein and rice wine vinegar in lemon chicken winter salad. And Szechuan peppercorns in this pork stir fry!
It's got a lot of everything, I know, but this is just one of those recipes you have to trust. The dark soy sauce can make this dish kind of look like charcoal, but it's the damnest best charcoal I've ever tasted.
What are Szechuan peppercorns?
Szechuan peppercorns, or Sichuan peppercorns, are named after the Sichuan (formerly known as Szechuan in English) region in Northern China, and they are native to China and Taiwan.
You cannot substitute Szechuan peppercorn with black pepper. They taste nothing alike. Szechuan peppercorns will give you a tingling sensation on your tongue, but they are not spicier than regular black peppercorns. After the numbness, comes the citrus flavor. It's such an interesting spice!
It is often paired with chilli, because chefs believe that the numbness of the Szechuan peppercorns will mask the heat level of the chilli. Szechuan peppercorns are also one of the five spices in Chinese Five Spice.
Orange Szechuan Beef and Carrots
I may sound like a broken record right now, but I think it's really important that you cut, shred and measure all the ingredients beforehand, because after this tedious job is done and over with, the rest goes pretty fast.
Begin with frying the Szechuan peppercorns until fragrant in a dry skillet, and use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppercorns to powder (1). Mix the peppercorns with the orange zest, salt and potato flour (2).
Cut the beef into strips and mix it with a little bit of oil (e.g. sunflower)(3) before you mix it with the Szechuan and orange goodness (4). Fry the beef strips in oil around 2-3 minutes in 170-190C.
Place them on a paper sheet to dry while you begin frying (yes, deepfrying) the carrot strips, for 1-2 minutes (5). Be careful, as the water in the carrots react to the hot oil and can make quite a splash. If you think you can omit the carrots, think again. This is just too good.
The beef strips will be really crispy and have an explosion of Szechuan pepper and zesty orange. Now we're ready to make the chilli sauce (and noodles if you make the Ginger Sesame Noodles as well).
The Best Sweet and Spicy Chilli Sauce aka Glaze
Heat a skillet to medium heat, and pour in the rice wine vinegar, sugar and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Throw in the chilli, chilli flakes and fresh ginger and boil until the mixture has thickened, maybe around 5-7 minutes.
When the sauce has thickened, add in the beef and carrots, make sure all the sauce sticks to the Szechuan beef and carrots like the perfect glaze I know it is. Enjoy with Ginger Sesame Noodles!
Did you like this Orange Szechuan Beef recipe? Here's more Asian inspired dishes I think you will like:
- Sweet and Spicy Beef and Broccoli
- Thai Lemongrass Noodle Soup
- Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Satay Sauce
- Ginger Coconut Lentil Curry
- Beef Bulgogi Korean BBQ
- Chinese 5 Spice Pork Stir Fry
- Sriracha Honey Glazed Pork
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This recipe was originally published on August 17th 2017 along with my Ginger Sesame Chinese Fried Noodles, but updated on March 22th 2021 for better photos, content and readability.