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Szechuan Beef

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Serves: 4
450g / 1 lb beef fillet
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp yellow bean sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp groundnut oil
2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
8 bunches spring onions, trimmed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2.5cm / 1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 carrot, peeled, sliced lengthways and cut into short lengths
2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm / 1 inch pieces
227g can water chestnuts, drained and halved
sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish
freshly cooked noodles with freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns, to serve

Trim the beef, discarding any sinew or fat, then cut into 5mm / 1/4 inch strips. Place in a large shallow dish. In a bowl, stir the hoisin sauce, yellow bean sauce, sherry and brandy together until well blended. Pour over the beef and turn until coated evenly. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a wok or large frying pan, add the oil and when hot, add the chillies, spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Add the carrot and peppers to the wok and stir-fry for 4 minutes or until slightly softened. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Drain the beef, reserving the marinade, add to the wok and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Return the chilli mixture, the carrot and pepper mixture and the marinade to the wok, add the water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sprigs of coriander and serve immediately with the noodles.

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