Known as Meng Gu Niu Rou, this little-known (well in the UK anyway) dish is utter heaven. I am not an expert chef in any way. However when I cooked this dish, I felt that I had really achieved something. Perhaps it is because a wok can turn even a random assortment of ingredients into a delicious meal. Perhaps its because the recipe was simple for me to follow. Whatever the reason, I suggest anyone with a wok should give this a go. WARNING! Do not attempt this recipe with anything but a wok, unless you really can't afford one.


  • 1 lb fillet or sirloin steak
  • 3 tablespoons groundnut oil/vegetable oil
  • 2 dried red chillies, halved lengthways
  • 4 sping onions, shredded finely
  • 2 large fresh red chillies, de-seeded and shredded finely
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • salt
  • chopped spring onions (two bunches should be enough)

For the marinade

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 0.5 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

As a preliminary note, you may wonder what's the point in using different kinds of soy sauce, chilles and such. I'd stick with the recipe. If you can't get the ingredients, use whatever is closest. Remember though that these people had centuries of getting this recipe right!

Slice the beef into strips about 1.25 inches long and 0.25 inches thick. Take the marinade ingredients and mix together. Pop the strips in the bowl with the marinade and massage the marinade in. This is the best way to get all the flavour into the beef.

Heat a wok on a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil. Keep heating it until the oil is very hot. Add the beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the meat is brown. Remove the beef from the wok and set aside. Pour out all but about 1 teablespoon of the oil.

Reheat the oil in the wok. When it is hot, add the dried chillies and stir-fry for 20 seconds over a medium heat. Add the spring onions and frsh chillies, stir-frying for another 20 seconds. Add all the other ingredients and stir-fry for 30 seconds over a high heat. Put the beef back in the wok, add a little salt (and I mean a LITTLE) and heat the beef until it is heated through. Serve with spring onions.

By the way I obviously didn't invent this. This is a traditional recipe, though this particular version is by Sainsbury's. Though I'm sure they got it from someone else....