Paleo Hunan Beef Stir-Fry
Paleo Hunan Beef Stir-Fry is a Chinese beef recipe with a bold-flavored stir-fry sauce. It’s low carb and gluten-free, and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Hey friends! Today’s Paleo beef recipe – Hunan beef – is from my grandfather (my father side) who came from Hunan province and married my grandmother who was born in Szechuan. Not quite sure what the differences are between Hunan and Szechuan cuisines? I hear you. There are subtle differences between the two but both are bold-flavored and super delicious. If you love a quick beef stir-fry recipe, keep on reading!
What is Hunan beef?
Hunan beef is one of the most prominent cuisines in China. Hunan province is rich in agriculture so the ingredients used in Hunan beef can be slightly different, depending on the chef. In general, Hunan beef is famous for spicy, hot, and bold flavor. Garlic and chili peppers are common ingredients in Hunan beef. It’s a quick stir-fry dish and goes well with steamed rice or cauliflower fried rice.
What does Hunan beef taste like?
Hunan beef recipe features thinly sliced tender beef, stir-fried with garlic, ginger, fresh and dry chilis, and sometimes shallots. Hunan beef emphasizes on using fresh ingredients and aromatics to bring out its natural flavor. The texture of the dish is less saucy, compared to my Paleo pepper steak.
What is the difference between Hunan beef and Mongolian beef
Paleo Mongolian beef is not a fiery spicy dish, compared to Paleo Hunan beef stir-fry. Mongolian beef uses a lot of scallions, ginger, and chili peppers however the proportion of these aromatics are more in equal parts. Hunan beef stir-fry uses mainly garlic and chilis so it’s a spicier dish. Some recipes also include cumin powder and sour pickles, too.
If you are looking for a non-spicy Paleo beef stir-fry, check out my readers’ favorite Paleo beef and broccoli.
What is the difference between Hunan beef and Szechuan beef
Szechuan beef has a slightly more complex flavor than Hunan beef, mainly because of Szechuan peppercorns. The peppercorns give a flowery and numbing (tingly) sensation in the mouthfeel. Both Hunan and Szechuan beef stir-fries are spicy dishes but Szechuan beef has slightly sweeter flavor than Hunan. In the recipe below, I add Sichuan peppercorns because I feel they add an extra layer of flavor to the dish however, they’re completely optional. 🙂
What are the ingredients for Paleo Hunan Beef Stir-Fry
- Skirt steak
- Fresh green chilis
- Chinese dry red chilis
- Coconut aminos (soy-sauce substitute & gluten-free)
- Red Boat fish sauce
- Baking soda
- Arrowroot starch
More of my Paleo Beef Recipes:
- Paleo beef and broccoli
- Paleo sesame beef
- Paleo Mongolian beef
- Paleo Thai basil beef (Pad Gra Prow)
- Paleo Asian meatballs
- Paleo Korean beef bowls
To keep my Paleo Hunan beef stir-fry low carb, pair it with my broccoli fried rice or baby greens. Want to add a little carb but keep it gluten-free? Try steamed rice, mashed sweet potatoes, or cauliflower gratin. 🙂
So my friends, this Paleo Hunan beef stir-fry is a family recipe from my grandfather (my father side) who immigrated to Taiwan after the Chinese civil war (after WWII, 1945-49). In the recipe I include ways to make Hunan beef less spicy so if you prefer just a hint of spicy flavor but not too much, I highly recommend that you give my Paleo Hunan beef a try.
Leave a comment below and rate the recipe. And subscribe to my blog I Heart Umami for more bold-flavored Asian-inspired Paleo recipes!
Paleo Hunan Beef Stir-Fry (Whole30, Keto)
Paleo Hunan Beef marinade:
- 1 lb skirt steak, , sirloin flap, or sirloin, thin sliced against the grain
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp red boat fish sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅛ tsp white pepper, (alt. black pepper)
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 3- inch long thin sliced ginger, , from index through ring finger quantity
- 5 large garlic cloves, , thinly sliced
- Fresh green chili peppers, : 3 longhorn peppers or 3 green serrano/fresno or 3 green jalapeno (see notes)
- 2 tbsp chopped Chinese dry red chili peppers, Alt. 3 red serrano/fresno or 3 red jalapeno (see notes)
- ½ tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, , if using
- 3-4 tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp beef or chicken stock
- Thin slice beef against the grain to about ⅛-inch thin. Mix well with ingredients from coconut aminos to baking soda. Set aside in the fridge while preparing other ingredients.
- Prepare ginger, garlic, fresh and dry chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns, if using. Combine coconut aminos with stock in a bowl. Set ginger and garlic aside in one group and Fresh and dry chili peppers and peppercorns in another group.
- In a well-heated large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, add 2 tbsp cooking fat. Sear the beef over medium-high heat in one layer without disturbing until crisp brown, about 2 minutes. Use a firm tip spatula to flip and cook for 30 seconds additional. Set the beef and pan juice aside in one bowl.
- Use the same skillet and start it dry, add 1.5 tbsp cooking fat. Saute garlic and ginger with a pinch of salt until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili peppers and peppercorns, saute until fragrant about 1-1.5 minutes.
- Add beef and the pan juice back to the skillet. Deglaze with coconut aminos and chicken stock. Quickly toss to coat the flavor for about 30 seconds. Serve hot and immediately.
- For a less spicy version – Remove the green chili pepper seeds and dice to small rounds. Use the whole Chinese dry red chili peppers without chopping, this will be less spicy.
- For a fiery hot version (more close to the original flavor), dice the chilies to small rounds with the seeds.
- Riced cauliflower or broccoli rice
- Baby greens
- Steamed rice (gluten-free)
- Mashed sweet potato or cauliflower gratin
I keep coming back to this recipe over and over. So much flavour! And every time I make it I can’t quite believe how good it is….but then, everything I’ve tried from the website and cookbook is lovely.
This recipe is seriously one of the best dishes I have tried in quite some time! And the instructions are great! -Super simple to follow and portions are spot on. I made it for my boyfriend and his kids and they loved it, and I loved it so much I went right back to the store and got more beef to make this dish for my work lunches too! For a bai ren family, might be a little too spicy. 🙂 I used only one jalepeno, and the kids thought it was pretty spicy but not too spicy. We mixed orange and yellow bell peppers in it too.
That sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing! XO!
Have made this recipe quit.e a few times now, it’s absolutely gorgeous.
This looks SO delicious!! Yum!! I’ve never used fish sauce, but have wanted to try it so I think this will be the recipe! Thanks for sharing!!
My whole family loves your paleo asian-inspired recipes! I can not wait to try this delicious looking hunan stir fry!!
Thanks so much, Meredith!
Wow this looks like it is full of so much flavour! Can’t wait to try it!
You have outdone yourself! This has the most amazing flavor and texture! As background, I am not generally a fan of beef’s texture & flavor, and avoid it whenever possible. My doctor wants me eating more beef due to anemia, so I made this recipe. It blew my mind! I had no idea beef could taste this delicious, juicy, and tender. Thank you for creating such delicious easy-to recreate recipes!
Oh wow! Thanks so much! XO
Wow, this is crazy delicious! Hunan beef is my favorite. Thanks for making a paleo version!!
This is so colorful and delicious! I love the sauce.
I love the deep dark color. Looks finger licking good!
Any marinade that includes fish sauce and coconut aminos is a must-make in my book! This looks delicious.
The jalapeño pepper is calling my name! This will be going on the menus this month!
I can tell that this dish is packed with so much flavor! Seriously looks amazing.
I’ve never made hunan beef but I love it in a restaurant! I can’t wait to try this! Thanks!
This recipe is INCREDIBLE. Like amazing. So so good! I read your tips on beef stirfry and made this one after receiving the chili peppers from amazon. I used an enamel cast iron. I can’t wait to make it again and again! Thank you!!
I’m so happy to hear that. Thank you, Amanda! So appreciate it! :))
I love all the flavors packed in here! It sounds amazing!