My sister-in-law Minami is from Taiwan. Aside from being a wonderful person, she also brings a cool Asian cooking repertoire to the table, so to speak. Recently I had dinner at her house, and she made hot pot. Hot pot is an Asian meal cooked course by course in a simmering broth at the table. Veggies, meats, seafood, all cooked in the delicious broth that she had prepared. The meal took me back to my teaching tenure in Jinan, China, a crazy fun time in my life. I’m so grateful I took that leap of faith. Talking with Minami, I was thrilled to feel the fun tingling numbness of the sichuan peppercorns used in making the broth.
The Sichuan, or szechuan, region of China is known for their spicy foods and the use of this particular peppercorn. Sichan food is my all time favorite kind of Chinese food. I spent a several days in the region during Chinese New Year in 2009, and it was amazing. There’s so much to see in the area – massive buddha carved into a mountain, temples, pandas – and the eating is unforgettable. I love the level of flavor in the dishes, and and the numbing sensation of the peppercorn is so unique. They also lends a nice, lemony aroma. I found mine at World Market, but they are also available on Amazon.
I did a bunch of research and couldn’t find a replica of the broth Minami made. She purchased a paste from a friend who sells it in the area (and apparently makes a small fortune off the stuff) so it’s highly unlikely I will get the recipe. She did, however, say it was in large part beef oil. I’m sure there’s a substitute I can find in the grocery, but, as usual with trying to recreate my favorite Chinese dishes, I have to get creative. My first try was a bust, but my second try turned out wonderfully. This sauce doesn’t qualify as Sichuan, more of a Thai-Chinese fusion. Curry, ginger, coconut milk and the fun numbing sensation of the Sichuan peppercorns brings this easy dish to a whole new level. A tender cut of ribeye seared to medium rare paired with roasted broccoli is lovely, but it’s all about the sauce. You can make it without the peppercorns, but aren’t you up for a little adventure?
If you make this, make a little more sauce. I used the leftovers with this curried pork tenderloin & honey roasted carrots!
Sichuan Curried Steak & BroccoliPrint Recipe
- 2 ribeye steaks, 1 ½ inch thick
- I tsp sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1-2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 lime
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 heads of broccoli
- Salt and pepper to taste
1 hour before eating, take the steaks out of the fridge to bring to room temperature. Salt and pepper generously on both sides.
Prepare the sauce. Heat a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the coconut oil and allow to melt. Add the sichuan peppercorns and coriander seed. Allow to cook for about 5 - 7 minutes. Peel and dice the ginger. Add ginger and curry paste (amount depending on heat of curry paste and your desired level of spice). Stir and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Simmer sauce for about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of 1 lime.
Preheat the oven to 400F when you get started with the sauce. Cut broccoli into florets and toss with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Heat a skillet over high heat as you put the broccoli in. When smoking hot, add the butter. When melted and simmering, add the steak. Sear the steak well on each side, about 5-7 minutes. Check the internal temperature, and cook equally on each side over high heat to desired level of doneness. I prefer 140F.
Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes as sauce cools. Pour sauce over beef and broccoli so it pools at the bottom of the plate.