Best-Ever Chinese Beef Shank Recipe (滷牛腱)

 P1040491

Hands-on Time: 10 min.

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 min.

 

SHORT VERSION:

Large Pot ( 4 to 6 Qt), add Beef shank (2lb), beef tendon (1lb, optional), water (8C), soy sauce (2C), sugar (1C), Chinese herbs (1 pack, optional). Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours.

 Intro:

Braising is one of the best ways to cook large portion of meats, especially the tough cuts of meat. Braising not only softens the tough meat tissue but also bring flavors into the meat. Another beauty of braising is that it’s so easy, just put the ingredients in the pot, turn on the heat and wait. Granted, braising is going to take some time, but if you can get 5 meals out of one cooking (~ 2hrs), then every meal is less than 30 meals to prep. and you don’t need to do ANYTHING most of the time. I will also showcase clever ways to utilize the sauce and meat from braising so you can get a variety of dish/meals from one single braised meat. Stay tune!

TIP:

Tip.1

Taste the sauce/soup after you bring it to a boil. The sauce should taste just slightly saltier than what you like. Adjust the taste (saltiness and sweetness) by add soy sauce, water, or sugar.

Tip.2

Slice the beef shank after it’s cooled.

Tip.3 

Save the sauce and store it separately from the meats (so the braised meat won’t become too salty over time). The leftover sauce is so versatile in cooking and I will just list some of the ways to use it:

a. Add some water or beef/chicken stock to turn it into delicious beef noodle soup.

b. add some thickening agent (i.e. corn starch or flour) to make a thick sauce and pour over rice/noodle.

c. Use it as marinate or cooking sauce for stir-fry.

d. Use it just like soy sauce, which means you can basically do anything with it. I will showcase a recipe that uses the sauce for delicious “Golden Soft Boiled Eggs“.

Going the extra mile (G.E.M) – the small step (optional) that takes the dish to the next level.

GEM.1

Melt and lightly brown the sugar before adding beef and sauce. This will give the dish a nice cameral color and flavor.

GEM.2

Add a Chinese herb pack for stew (usually available as small packages in your local Asian market) to add sophistication to the dish.

GEM.3

Use hot water when adding it to the pot. This prevents the temperature to drop dramatically and keeps the sugar from G.E.M. stay melted.

Cookware:

  1. Large Pot (~ 4 to 6 qt). I recommend using a cast iron pot so it retains heat better.
  2. Measuring cup

Ingredients

 ingred1

Protein:

  1. Beef shank, but feel free to use any cut of beef (I have tried chuck, round, short ribs, and they all taste good!)  – 2 lb.
  2. (optional) Beef tendon or beef feet. The beef tendon here is from between the beef shank and beef feet. It’s usually available in local Asian market.

Sauce/condiments/Spices

Units: C = Cup.

*note* relative ratio is more important the absolute amount.

  1. Soy sauce – 2 C
  2. Sugar ~ 1 C
  3. Water – 8 C
  4. (optional) Chinese herb pack for stew – 1 to 2 packs.

Before Cooking:

Prep.1

cook1

(Optional, I only do it when I think the beef is not very fresh)

In a large pot, fill water to ~ half way. Add beef, turn heat on high. Once the water reaches a boil, cook for 5 more minutes.

Cooking Steps:

Cooking.1

G.E.M.1

cook2

In a large pot, over medium to low heat, add sugar (1 C) and stir slowly until sugar turns to cameral color.

Cooking.2

cook3

Add rest of the ingredients into the pot (beef shank, beef tendon first, then soy sauce, water). Feel free to adjust the water amount so it barely covers the beef.

G.E.M.2 & G.E.M.3 (optional steps)

Add Chinese herbal pack(s) & add hot water instead of cold water (boiled, NOT hot water from the faucet).

Cooking.3

Once water reaches a boil, taste for saltiness, then cover and turn heat to low for ~ 2 hours.

Serving:

final1P1040489

Cool the beef down before slicing because the beef is so tender that they will just fell apart. I also like to top the dish with some diagonally sliced scallion to add a touch of color for presentation.

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