Sunday, February 2, 2014

Chinese Braised Beef Brisket, Tendon, and White Radish

My aunt makes the best beef brisket.  I always looked forward to when my aunt would visit when I was a kid, because I would hope that she would bring this dish for me.  Her version used to burn my lips and tongue because she made it SO SPICY!  The sauce was more red than brown.  To this day I still occasionally crave it.  My mom makes it every so often as well for my husband, because she knows that he loves it, but it's still not the same as my aunt's version.  Even my mom admits her's is inferior to my aunt's.  But now that my aunt has become a vegetarian, she can no longer taste the sauce as she cooks.  As with most Asians, she does not cook with a recipe, she goes by look and taste.  So my aunt now says, by looking only, she can only guess, and that makes her less consistent than before.  So for the last few weeks, I have been on the hunt for the perfect recipe.  in the end, I have combined what my aunt told me, what my friend told me, and 3 other recipes I have found online, and mashed together my own recipe.

So this post really is for me, more than anyone else.  I feel that I still need to perfect this recipe, so i'm essentially documenting my steps by blogging.  With the listed ingredients below, my only comment is that it turned out a tad sweeter than I remember my aunt's being.  Just a warning, this is not a quick recipe by any means.  I have found slow cooker and pressure cooker recipes, but since I don't own one, I didn't use those recipes.

4lb Beef Brisket, trim excess fat
2lb Beef Tendon
1 Medium sized White Radish
1 Piece of Ginger (amount depends on how much ginger flavour you like)
6 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Shallot, chopped
4 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
Oil for browning Brisket

Braising Liquid
4 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
4 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
50g Rock Sugar (next time I will try 45g since i found this a tad sweet)
4 Star Anise Pods
1 Piece Dried Tangerine Peel
8 cups Water

"Magic" Sauce
3 tbsp Ground Bean Sauce (friend said to use Whole Bean Sauce, but I couldn't find it)
1.5 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1.5 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Garlic Minced
1 tbsp Ginger Minced
1 tbsp Shallot Minced
2 tbsp Oil

The day before, wash tendon, and blanche it in boiling water for about 5 minutes.  Rinse under cold water.   Put it in water (enough to cover the tendon), and boil for about 10 minutes.  Put it into a vacuum pot.  A few hours later, bring the tendon up to a boil again for a few minutes, and put it back into the vacuum pot.  The next morning, cut the tendon into 1" pieces and bring liquid and tendon back to a boil again and place inside the vacuum pot again.

In the meanwhile, wash the beef brisket and cut into 1" to 2" pieces.  Blanche it in boiling water for about 5 minutes to get rid of any impurities.  Rinse under cold water.  Take 1 piece of ginger, 6 cloves of chopped garlic, and 1 chopped shallot, add to oil and brown the brisket pieces.  This should take a few minutes.  When brisket is browned, splash the beef with the Chinese cooking wine.  Cook for an additional few minutes.  Remove from pan/wok and set aside.

Time to start the "Magic" sauce. Heat up a pan/wok and brown the garlic, ginger and shallot.  Add the   ground bean sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar to the pan.  Cook for a few minutes, and do not burn!  Add the brisket to the pan and toss.  Strain the beef tendon and add to the pan.  Coat everything evenly.

Add all the ingredients for the braising liquid to the meat and tendons.  Bring everything to a boil for about 10 minutes.  Take everything and put it into vacuum pot.  30 minutes later, take it out of the vacuum pot, and bring it up to a boil again for about 10 minutes.  Place back into the vacuum pot.  Repeat again 2 more times.  After the last time, add in the white radish pieces, bring everything to a boil again, and place back into the vacuum pot.  Again, 30 minutes later, take it out of the vacuum pot, bring to a boil on the stove for about 10 minutes.

Some recipes call for the addition of cornstarch to thicken the sauce, but I prefer to keep the sauce thinner so I can use the sauce as a broth to put my noodles into.

Chinese Braised Beef Brisket, Tendon and White Radish on Thick Wonton Noodles

Recipe References:炆牛筋腩/
and of course my friend and lovely aunt :)

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