Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Star Anise Beef with Leek and Hoisin-Chili Sauce

Karen found this recipe in the March 1987 issue of Bon Appetit magazine and we've been enjoying it ever since, preparing it from that original clipping. In fact, we still use the electric wok we received as a wedding present back in 1986. Since this recipe requires a good bit of preparation and one large leek (which we normally do not keep on hand), it is not prepared as often as we would like to enjoy it. We like it for its spicy sweet flavor with a hint of ginger and garlic. The dish was presented by the magazine in a section of Szechwan (or Szechuan or Sichuan) recipes, although we don't know enough about food in that part of the world to prove them right or wrong. Maybe Mr. Yen will help us identify which Szechwan style this dish represents.

10 ounces flank steak, cut into 1/8 x 2 inch shreds
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 large leek cut into 1/8 x 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper cut into 1/8 x 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 small fresh red chili, seeded and cut into 1/8 x 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp + 1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tsp hot chili sauce
3/4 tsp sugar
1 star anise
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

Combine steak, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, cornstarch and pepper in non-aluminum bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat wok over medium high heat 45 seconds. Add 1 tbsp oil and heat 1 minute. Add leek and stir-fry 1 1/2 minutes. Add bell peppers, chili and salt and stir-fry 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to plate. Clean wok.

Blend hoisin, chili sauce and sugar.

Heat wok over high heat 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 tbsp oil and star anise and stir 2 minutes. Remove star anise. Increase heat to high and cook oil 30 seconds. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry 45 seconds. Add beef and stir-fry 1 minute. Add hoisin sauce mixture and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add vegetables and stir-fry 45 seconds. Serve immediately.

We usually double the recipe so the four of us can have a generous portion and still have leftovers. You may have noticed the picture above shows that we used one red bell pepper and one orange bell pepper instead of two red ones. Bon appetit!


  1. Szechwan is a province in South-Central China which is known for its hot spicy and fragrant food. Hence the anise and chili sauce that contribute to this dish.

    Looks yummy!!

  2. That looks very yummy! We will have to try it soon.


  3. Mmmm... I think I will be calling soon to get another lesson in what in the world are some of these ingredients and where do I find them?!!!!

    Love the recipes, we just had leftovers from my second batch of spicy sausage and lentil soup last night! Keep them coming. :)

  4. Muy Bien!!! I feel as if I just left an all you can eat Chinese buffet ~ stuffed!!! It was well enjoyed by all who would try it (4 of us) and the others ate leftover burritos. Because of the spiciness I didn't feed it to Jonas. Part way through our meal you would have thought we were travelling across the dessert with the cries of "water, water, I need water!"

    What's next??? I haven't been disappointed yet. :)