Chinese Style Braised Beef

I wish I had a “taste-o-blog” or a “screen-sniff” option, because the photo of this dish really doesn´t do it justice.

During Operation Clear Out The Freezer, I came across a piece of stewing beef. It´s not really casserole weather here right now, but I knew I´d need to give it a long slow cook.  Inspired by the success of the flavours in my Pork Belly dish, I decided to head to the Orient for my ingredients.  Adapted from a BBC Good Food Recipe, this is a beautiful, prepare ahead dish which is even better the next day and would work really well too with pork. I served it simply with basmati rice and steamed runner beans.

Ingredients (to serve 4)

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
  • Beef for slow cooking (my piece weighed about 1 kilo) cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 large onion
  • 50g peeled fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 2 heaped tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 4 whole star anise
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 50ml of dry sherry (or use rice wine or water)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • About half a cup of chicken stock (or beef if you have it, otherwise water)

Heat the oil in an ovenproof dish and seal the meat on all sides (in batches if necessary). Remove the meat and reserve in a separate bowl.

Blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a paste with a little water in a food processor then fry gently in the same pan you used for the meat until it has softened. Add the five spice, star anise and ground pepper then after a minute add the sugar, soy sauce, wine and tomato purée. Add the beef to the pan with any juices then add just enough stock to cover the meat.

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer then cook either very slowly on the stove top for a couple of hours or on the lowest oven setting for about 3 hours.

When the time is up, remove the meat from the sauce then turn up the heat and reduce the sauce to your preferred consistency.

When you are ready to serve (and even better if you can make this a day ahead) pour the sauce over the meat and enjoy.

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57 thoughts on “Chinese Style Braised Beef

  1. Oh la la – now this is my kind of meal – SCRUMITY!!!
    I am sure I have some pork short ribs or the like in the freezer – will go scrounge around – if so, will be making this ASAP! Will let you know how it goes…
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. I think this would be so good with pork short ribs – the meat would be falling off the bones and you could lick all that lovely sauce off your fingers and get into a lovely, delicious mess 🙂

  2. A beautiful dish, even if it refuses to photograph well. I had just finished watching the local Oz Masterchef [finals week and very good this year, best of all the seasons] before coming back to the computer, and two of the five finalists made variations on the theme tonight. This is one of my favourite slow-cooked dishes: I actually mix medium soy sauce with kecap manis half/half, and usually use medium dry sherry rather than the ever popular dry one: more depth of flavour. Must try with more star anise – I only use 1-2, and I am sure it can take more! Thanks for the recipe 🙂 !

  3. I think it looks bloody delicious! And I bet it tasted and smelled divine! Yum….I think I will make this in winter, cannot possibly fathom slow cooking in this heat….kudos to you my dear!

  4. I love the flavours – star anise, soy, 5 spice. But I see you managed to have your main dish with a side of runner beans, way to go, sneak them in at every opportunity 🙂

  5. This really does sound delicious, Tanya, especially with 5 spice & star anise. I bet this would be better on day 2, once it’s had a chance to sit a spell. I’d be tempted to put a few pieces of beef aside. Once shredded, they’d make a great sandwich and perfect for lunch. I need to give this recipe a try once out weather cools a bit. 🙂

  6. We are having a bit of a beef and noodle revival here at the moment. We do a chilli beef dish which is on a weekly rotation – but your recipe may just shake things up a bit. Thank you!! x

  7. Wow this looks perfect for our damp cold weather at the moment. Add to that, I’m specifically collecting new recipes that feature spices at the moment – so thanks for this, T.

  8. I don’t eat meat but remember when I did (23 years ago lol) and this is EXACTLY the sort of way that I loved it. Pork belly was a firm favourite (and perhaps that is why my rear end had trouble fitting through the door back then lol) and Chinese style slow cooking was my forte. These sort of nondescript looking things are a Chinese specialty. They make all of the best tasting things look slightly “meh…” so that people who are not in the know head for the sad saucy pineapple laced fluff and never get to savour the heavenly flavour of braised pork belly, chicken feet and offal…Anthony Bourdain outed them in his typically American blunt way but its our job to continue making them look nondescript and hide them behind the steamed rice and brightly coloured “tourist food” at banquets so that we can put them tenderly back into the fridge with a large spoon so that we can head off to go snacking at night like Nigella on a bender…

    1. What a brilliant comment – thanks so much! And yes, you´re right. This bears no resemblance to sweet and sour sticky stuff with pineapple – gorgeous, deep flavours to be savoured (and snacked a la Nigella is always an exciting treat)!

      1. Nothing tastes so amazing as when it is snuck out of the fridge in the dark by the light of the fridge in your pyjamas and scoffed in silent raptures to the trill of your own personal degustory delight…Nigella most certainly knows what makes a true glutton tick lol 😉

  9. Would this also work in a slow-cooker do you think, or would it not have the same exterior texture at the end? I’m not too familiar with slow-cooking… my wife bought a small one a while back and made some fantastic stuff, but I’ve never used it myself, preferring to stick stuff in the oven instead.

    It looks lovely – the colour seems really rich and tasty!

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