Szechuan Beef with Garlic Scapes

Active Time: 20 Mins
Total Time: 30 Mins
Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Looking to experiment with garlic scapes? This better-than-takeout version of Szechuan beef is the perfect place to start. The beef is tender while the veggies are crisp, and everything’s covered with a rich sauce that’s both spicy and sweet. Garlic scapes, which have a milder garlic flavor and a stringy texture, are in season in late spring and early summer. You’ll find them at local farmers’ markets, produce stands, and international markets, which is also where you should scope out chili oil (lao gan ma) and fermented chili bean paste (doubanjiang)—in a pinch, however, fermented black bean paste will do the trick. Make sure to trim the woody ends from the tops and bottoms of the scapes. 


  • 1(1 1/2 to 2-lb.) beef strip steak, cut against the grain into 1/8-1/4 in. strips
  • 1large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet sake)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil (such as Lao Gan Ma)
  • 1 tablespoon fermented chili bean sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
  • 1bunch garlic scapes, woody ends trimmed and cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 3 to 4de árbol chiles
  • 1red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine beef strips, egg, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium bowl. Toss well, and let stand 15 minutes.

Step 2

Whisk together beef stock, sugar, vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, chili oil, bean sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.

Step 3

Drain and discard liquid from beef strips. Add remaining 1/2 cup cornstarch, and toss to coat.

Step 4

Heat remaining 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high. Add coated beef strips to skillet in a single layer; cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and brown on other side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer beef to a plate.

Step 5

Add garlic scapes, de árbol chiles, bell peppers, and onion to skillet; cook, stirring often for 2 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir beef stock mixture into vegetable mixture; cook, stirring often, until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add beef to mixture, and stir to combine. Serve immediately over rice, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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