Slice Your Protein
Proteins should be sliced into matchsticks approximately 2-inches long with a 1/2-inch square cross-section, cut against the grain to minimize chewiness.
Heat the Beef and Oil
You can dunk the beef directly into hot oil, but I find that starting with cold beef and oil and bringing it up to heat slowly is safer and produces better results.
As the beef dries out, the oil will more and more resemble traditional deep frying. Once clear, small bubbles start breaking the surface, and you know your beef is almost done.
The finished beef should be deep brown with lots of crisp bits here and there. It should be chewy with a porous, open texture like good beef jerky, but not totally dried out.
Sichuan Dry-Fried Beef
After the initial par-fry, it's only a matter of moments to finish a dish—just the time it takes to stir-fry a handful of vegetables and aromatics and toss the meat in a thin but powerful sauce.
With vegetables, you have to start with hot oil or they will go totally limp before they blister properly. After rinsing and cutting them, make sure they are completely dried to avoid dangerous splattering. The oil should be heated up to around 400°F.
Vegetables are done within a minute or two. They should be blistered, lightly browned in spots, tender, and wrinkled but still bright green.