Sichuanese Chopped Celery with Beef

The dish has the lyrical name of “Send the Rice Down” in Chinese and the slightly more prosaic “chopped celery with beef” in English. But never mind the names – what you need to know is that this dish is one of the more addictive things to ever issue from my kitchen.  It also seems to be one of my husband’s newest favorites too!   This was easy to make and was very flavorful, warm and spicy. 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

11 ounces celery
3 tablespoons cooking oil
4 ounces lean ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chili bean paste
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
Light soy sauce to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar

Directions:

1. De-string the celery, if necessary, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. Finely dice the strips. Bring some water to the boil and blanch the celery for 30 seconds. Drain well.

2. Heat the oil in a seasoned wok or pan over high heat. Add the ground beef and stir-fry until it is cooked and fragrant, stirring and pressing it to separate the strands. Add the chili bean paste and continue to stir until the oil has reddened. Add the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds to release its fragrance, then add all the celery.

3. Continue to stir-fry until the celery is piping hot and well-combined. Season with a little soy sauce, if desired. Finally, stir in the vinegar and serve immediately.

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