Cooking: Cantonese style Braised Beef (炆牛腩)

This is one of my favorite homey dishes, its comfort food for me. There are variations on this dish, but I’m presenting my recipe (which is just a slightly modified from my mother’s recipe). This makes about 3-4 servings.

  • 750 g (1.5 pounds) brisket (can use flank steak, or short rib as alternatives)
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbs ginger
  • 1 tsp szechuan pepper corns
  • 1/2 tsp star anise
  • 1 tsp chu hou paste
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (or can use black pepper)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs starch

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start by mincing the garlic

combine the garlic, with the 1tsp soy sauce, and white pepper in a durable plastic bag

dice the beef into large cubes. I chose a piece of brisket with lots of marbling.

add the cubed beef to the bag (with the seasonings) and mix thoroughly.

place the bag of marinated beef in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I turn the bag every 30 minutes or so to mix. The plastic bag is not required, but I find it more convenient to just flip the bag over, rather than get in there and mix manually.

After at least an hour, take the beef out the refrigerator, and let rest on the counter at room temperature for at least an hour. In the mean time, heat up the star anise and the szechuan peppercorns in a teaspoon of hot oil

add the star anise and the Szechuan peppercorns to large pot (I placed them in a tea ball with the garlic and ginger), which I will place in the pot. This makes them easier to remove when the cooking is done).

Add the beef stock to the pot, set the pot over medium-low heat.

Combine the all purpose flour, starch, and a little salt and pepper in a bowl

Dredge the marinated beef in the starch & flour mixture , then brown the beef with the onions in some oil over medium high heat.

add the browned beef and onions to the pot (with the beef stock, the chuhou paste and the garlic, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns). Add the other tsp of soy sauce to the pot.

simmer over low heat for at least 90 minutes, up to 2 hours. Check on the meat’s progress every 30 minutes or so, if the liquid at the bottom of the pot seems to be thickening too much or drying out, add additional water.

After 90 minutes (up to 2 hours) the beef should be tender, and it should be simmering in a rich savory meaty sauce. The flour/starch, used to dredge the beef before browning, should thicken the sauce.

serve over rice, or my favorite, as a noodle soup.

notes: There are variations on this recipe. One of the more common variations is to substitute a cinnamon stick instead of the szechuan peppercorns. Some recipes will add cubed daikon (white) radish, orcubed lotus root, for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

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