Spicy Beef with Leeks & Basil

January  8, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This is my take on my husband's favorite dish at the Chinese restaurant that he's frequented for over 15 years, called "Hangen" in Mountain View, CA. They called it "Hangen Beef" or "Chef's Special Beef." It's a variation on Szechuan Dried Fried Beef, but I've never seen anything like it on a menu anywhere else. I have since learned that this is a Mongolian dish.

This is a spicy spicy dish so it's not for the heat-sensitive. The Thai basil elevates this dish from good to great. Without it, it's just not the same.

Test Kitchen Notes

Here's fusion at its best: a little French (leeks), a little Mexican (jalapeños), and a punch of Asian flavor (spicy chili bean sauce) make this a terrific and delicious stir-fry dish! The beef, leek, and chili combo is easy to make and so much better than take-out. We loved it, and I would definitely make it again. Those who are fearful of spice can moderate it to their tastes, but for me the level of heat is just right as it is. —Donna

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound beef, flank, or skirt steak, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 cups leeks, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, dark green leaves discarded
  • 1/2 cup onions or shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup jalapeños, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan chili bean sauce/paste (doubanjiang or toban djan).
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (not low sodium)
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • Salt, optional
  1. Combine beef and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside to marinate for about 1 hour.
  2. Heat your skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, garlic, and onions. Stir-fry for about 1 minute -- it does not need to brown.
  3. Add leeks and stir-fry for another 3 minutes until the leeks soften. Then add jalapenos and cook for another minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Wipe down the pan. Return it to high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir fry the beef until it's just cooked and add the rice wine or dry sherry. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the chili bean sauce/paste and mix well with the beef. Taste, and add more chili sauce or soy sauce if needed. The chili bean sauce can be salty depending on the brand used, so adjust to your preference.
  6. Return the vegetables to the skillet/wok, and stir to combine all the ingredients. Add the basil, tossing to combine and wilt the basil. Taste again and add some salt, if it's not seasoned enough.
  7. Serve with hot cooked rice.
  8. Note: The sichuan chili bean sauce is sometimes called "broad bean paste". My favorite brand is labeled Pixian Broad Bean Paste. You can find it here: There's a doubanjiang sauce from Lee Kum Kee, but it's not as good as this Pixian one and not sichuan. It's also quite salty. Use what you can get and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

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1 Review

QueenSashy January 24, 2013
Such a complex and intriguing combination of flavors, I must cook this, right now!