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Cumin Beef

You will never want to go out for Cumin Beef again after preparing this pretty Hunan dish at home. With steamed rice, Taiwan Pickle and a plate of sliced oranges, a nice meal for four persons. I prefer flank steak for this stir fry, but sometimes make it with lamb shoulder. Have the ingredients prepped before you start cooking, this comes together quickly.


1 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon sherry or water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 pound beef sirloin or flank steak, sliced (against the grain) into very thin strips, about two inches long
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Peanut or vegetable oil for stir frying
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
4 green onions, whites cut into 3-inch long pieces and slivered lengthwise; green parts sliced thin; keep divided
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Mix the cornstarch (or potato starch) with the ground cumin and black pepper in a medium bowl or a dinner plate. Add the sliced beef and, using clean hands, mix the meat into the cornstarch mixture until the slices are evenly coated with the coating.

Heat a large skillet or wok on a medium-high fire and coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil. Sauté the coated beef slices, placed individually into the skillet, undisturbed for a minute or so on each side until sizzling and well browned. Cook in batches, removing the browned slices to a clean plate, adding a bit more oil to the skillet if necessary. When finished cooking, let the beef rest while the rest of the dish is cooked.

Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the garlic and stir for about one minute while the garlic browns. Do not let the garlic burn. Add the red pepper and cook, again stirring, for another minute, then add the long slivered portion of the green onion and the dried chili flakes. Cook for another minute, then return the cooked beef to the pan to quickly reheat, pour the sauce mixture over all and stir well to coat. The sauce will thicken after about 30 seconds. Transfer to a platter and garnish liberally with the sliced green onions.

Serves 2 to 4 as a main course, with rice.