Sliced Beef with Cumin (Zi Ran Niu Rou)

Zi Ran Niu Rou – Cumin is associated with the Xinjiang region where it mostly grown in China. This region in the northwest corner of China is populated by the Uyghurs whose street vendors have brought their famous grilled lamb kabobs sprinkled with chilies and cumin to cities throughout China. In the provinces of Hunan and Sichuan, stir-fried beef dishes with cumin have evolved over the years to have their own regional takes.

Sliced Beef with Cumin

This sliced beef recipe is made irresistible with the addition of cumin. It's quick and easy to prepare. Cumin is a spice rarely used in Chinese cooking and when combined with chili pepper, chile flakes and garlic, creates a sophisticated flavor profile. It's also incredibly aromatic and is perfect when complimented by white rice,
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Hunan, Sichuan, Western China
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Wok
  • Bowl


  • 1 lb Steak, cut across the grain into thin slices around 1½ x 1½-inches)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp Garlic, minced
  • 2 medium Fresh red chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dried red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp Ground cumin
  • 3 stalks Scallion, green part only, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • cup Peanut oil


  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • tbsp Corn starch or potato flour
  • 1 tbsp Water


  • Add the sliced beef to marinade and mix to coat. Set aside.
  • Heat the peanut oil in a wok until it reaches 300°F (150°C). Add beef slices and stir until they've all separated. Quickly remove and drain on paper towels.
  • Remove all but 4 tbsp of oil. Turn heat to high and when oil begins to smoke, add ginger, chiles, chili flakes, garlic, and cumin. Stir-fry briefly until fragrant. return the beef slices to the wok. Season with a pinch of salt. Turn off heat.
  • To serve, mix in the scallion greens and toss. Stir in sesame oil and serve hot.


Calories: 1014kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 101g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g | Monounsaturated Fat: 47g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 929mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 719IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 4mg

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