Liam's Recipes

Cantonese Black Pepper Beef




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50g whole black peppercorns, freshly ground or pounded

15g douchi (chinese fermented black soybeans, yang jiang preserved beans)

⅛ onion, diced

½ shallot, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ anaheim chili, diced (any fresh mild chili or pepper works, like red bell, etc)

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

150 ml water

½ tbsp sugar and salt

1 tsp MSG

Stir Fry:

140g tough cut of beef (loin, flank, round, etc)

¼ tsp papain (can be substituted with baked baking soda or just baking soda)

2 tbsp water

½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp Shaoxing wine (or Japanese sake)

½ tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp oil

¼ onion, cut into chunks

4 cloves garlic, smashed and left whole

1 in ginger, sliced

4 scallion whites, cut into 2 in sections

1 mild chili, cut into chunks

3 tbsp extra water to combine with sauce

2 tbsp Mijiu rice wine or Japanese sake

High-heat neutral oil to stir fry.


Thinly slice the beef. Combine the slices with the ¼ tsp papain, 2 tbsp water, ½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp Shaoxing wine, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, and 1 tsp oil. Marinate the beef in this mixture until you’ve finished creating your black bean sauce. Be careful not to marinate this for more than an hour, as the beef will take on a strange texture.

Add oil to a medium cooking vessel over medium heat. Fry the ⅛ white onion until translucent, then the ½ shallot and 4 cloves of minced garlic.

Add the douchi, pounding it in a mortar or pounding it in the pan as you put it in, and the chili. Fry until it begins to smell very fragrant. Lastly, add the soy sauc and black peppercorns and reduce the heat to low.

Fry for 1-2 minutes until it’s starting to clump together, then add 150 ml of water. Cook again until the mixture has reduced down to a pasty consistency, around 5 minutes. Once this consistency is reached, take it off the heat and season with the sugar, salt, and MSG, and set aside.

When you’re ready to begin stir frying, combine the sauce with 3 tbsp water and mix well. In addition to this, mix the cornstarch with the dark soy sauce to ensure there are no clumps.

In a large cooking vessel, heat 4 tbsp of neutral oil over high heat until it can rapidly bubble around a pair of chopsticks. Stir fry the beef for around 30 seconds, then turn the heat off and take it out of the pan.

Heat 1 ½ tbsp of neutral oil over high heat and add the beef back in along with the onion, garlic, ginger, scallion white, and anaheim. Quickly mix the ingredients in the pan and spread the Shaoxing wine over the pan. Add in the sauce mixture and continue to fry for another 15 seconds.

Add in the dark soy sauce and cornstarch slurry and quickly mix. Add in the oil, quickly mix for a final time, then turn the heat off. You can serve this on a preheated hotplate or cast iron skillet covered in aluminum foil if you want the cha chaan teng experience. Serve hot with rice or any starch of your choice.


A Western and Chinese hot plate dish, likely originating from Hong Kong. Commonly served in Cantonese cha chaan teng, or Hong Kong-style cafes. As the name suggests, the sauce is a very black pepper forward base for our stir fry. This recipe showcases basic wok stir fry technique, as well as using papain with a tougher cut of beef to create a very tender finished product. There are a lot of ingredients listed, but don’t be discouraged if you’re missing some or want to sub some out.




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