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Beef with cumin

Serves 2

12 ounces trimmed steak, such as sirloin
1 tablespoon shaoxing (rice) wine
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 3/4 cups peanut oil (for deep-fat frying)
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 fresh red chili peppers, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices, ideally 1 1/2 by 1 1/4 inches. Transfer them to a bowl.

2. Add the rice wine, salt, light and dark soy sauces, and cornstarch mixture; stir well.

3. In a large wok or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil over high heat until it reaches 275 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Add the beef and stir gently. As soon as the pieces have separated, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and drain well; set aside.

4. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the oil from the pan. Over high heat, stir-fry the ginger, garlic, chili peppers, crushed pepper, and cumin for 3 minutes or until fragrant and sizzling. Return the beef to the wok and stir well. Add a generous pinch of salt.

5. Add the scallions and toss for half a minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Adapted from "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook"

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