Cumin Beef Stir Fry

I am SO excited about this Cumin Beef Stir Fry recipe. 

So let’s just begin with how I discovered this recipe first in the first place. I recently went to Houston for a work trip and anytime I visit Houston, I love taking some time to explore new ethnic foods. Houston has such a beautiful collection of diverse ethnic food restaurants that the DFW area just doesn’t compare to, so I really enjoy exploring other cultures cuisines when visiting. Clayton and I are huge fans of a Sichuan-style food, so when our friends described Mala Sichuan Bistro, we knew that was on the top of our list to try.

Cumin Beef Stir Fry

Our meal at Mala Sichuan Bistro was incredible. We were able to try such an array of dishes from start to finish and our mouths were tingling with delight. That’s the thing, for those unfamiliar with the sensation of Sichuan peppercorns, they aren’t spicy and they aren’t even a pepper! “Sichuan peppercorns consist of the pinkish-red dried outer husks of the prickly ash shrub. Sichuan peppercorns have an aromatic fragrance that has been likened to lavender. However, its main claim to fame is the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth. When married with chili peppers (the other key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine) chefs believe this numbing effect reduces the chili pepper’s heat, leaving diners free to appreciate the capsicum’s intense, fruity flavour.” [source: The Spruce Eats]

Cumin Beef Stir Fry

One of the dishes we tried was their Cumin Beef, a cumin-scented beef stir fry filled with chiles, onions, and of course– the lovely tingle of Sichuan peppercorns. It’s just a flavor bomb of delight and as soon as I left the restaurant, I wanted to come back for some more! 

Cumin Beef Stir Fry

When I got home, I knew I had to create it in my own kitchen– which is what leads us here to this very moment in time and this blog post. I’ve taken what I have in my little old kitchen and re-created the Cumin Beef Stir Fry from my memory as close as I could possibly get. Oh, and while also keeping it using only clean, Whole30 compliant ingredients. The results are absolutely fantastic, full-of-flavor, and will leave you wanting more and more! Enjoy!

Cumin Beef Stir Fry


For another stir fry recipe, try my Moo Goo Gai Pan (Chinese Chicken and Mushroom Stir Fry)!

Cumin Beef Stir Fry

5 from 1 vote


For the Steak:

  • 1.5 pounds flank steak sirloin is good, too
  • avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tapioca starch arrowroot is okay

For the Stir Fry:

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion or 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground sichuan peppercorns (I use a coffee grinder to do this)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons red boat fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 green onions, green parts only cut into 2 inch pieces


For the Steak:

  • Place the steak on a cutting board. This is optional, but I like to whack my steak 20-30 times with a meat mallet to help tenderize it a bit. Regardless, slice it into thin 1/4 inch strips that are about 3 inches long, more or less. Or, "thin bite sized pieces."
  • Place the sliced steak in a large bowl with the 1 teaspoon of avocado oil, 1 tbsp coconut aminos, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and tapioca. Toss until well combined and set aside to allow it to marinade at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

For the Stir Fry:

  • Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp of avocado oil and, in batches to prevent overcrowding the skillet, sear the beef until a golden brown crust begins to form, about 2 minutes a side. Transfer cooked beef to a side plate and continue until all of the beef is browned and set aside. (If your skillet ever runs dry, you can add more oil, as needed).
  • Add an additional teaspoon of avocado oil (if needed) and the toasted sesame oil. Add the onions, crushed red pepper flakes, ground sichuan peppercorns, cumin and garlic. Toast spices, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  • Add the beef and toss until well coated in the spices. Add the coconut aminos, fish sauce rice vinegar, and green onions. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has just thickened, 2 to 3 more minutes.


  • Reply
    January 5, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for my boyfriend and me and we were OBSESSED!! One question for you – can I marinade the steak for longer than 30 minutes? Would that make it better or worse?

    • Reply
      January 5, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      marinading it longer is great!! won’t mess it up at all!!!

  • Reply
    Deke Wilson
    December 6, 2020 at 1:22 am

    This was so delicious, I am definitely going to save the recipe!
    It reminds me of the Cumin Lamb dish over at Jeng Chi (Greenville and Jackson) which is usually my go to order – if you were going to do this with lamb, what cut would you use for stir fry?

    • Reply
      December 6, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      Ah, yes. I love it with lamb too (although, I’ve never made it with lamb at home). I would try to find a boneless lamb shoulder or leg and slice it real thin.

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