Braised Beef Brisket Made Easy
Slowly cooked beef brisket is the perfect winter dinner comfort meal for the family, and this recipe I’m about to share is something I’ve perfected from the classic Chinese braised beef brisket with daikon dish.
The original recipe can take up 2 hours of cooking with many steps, but my version takes half the time and still tastes delicious!
A few points to note:
- I’m using a cut called “finger meat” which is the meat between the cow’s rib cage. It’s not as tough as brisket, but full of flavour because its so close to the bones. And the best part is, it’s cheaper! If you see this at your butcher, grab it for any of your slow cooking beef needs.
- I’ve listed out substitutes where possible as some of the ingredients aren’t easily found in regular stores and not everyone lives close to a Chinese supermarket. The substitutes work just as well (I know, I’ve tried)
- There’s also an optional ingredients list for those who don’t have access to an Asian or Chinese grocery store. Your beef will still taste great if you choose to leave out all of the optional ingredients BUT, you will be missing out on the depth of flavour provided from the spices.
- I’m using a traditional Chinese cooking clay pot to braise my beef in. However, using a wok or a large pot also works.
Cantonese beef brisket with Daikon
500g of beef brisket or finger meat
500g of daikon
1 big chunk of sliced ginger
4 big cloves of smashed garlic
A handful of coriander for garnish
1 lump of rock sugar or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/2 cup of Shao Xing wine or cooking sherry
2 inches of cinnamon or 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of fermented bean curd
2 star anise
2 tablespoons of Chu Hou sauce or Hoi Sin sauce
1. Firstly clean your beef brisket by rinsing it under running water for about 30 seconds to flush out any excess blood within the meat. Then cut them into about thumb size pieces. Pat dry and set aside.
2. Then peel your daikon radish and get rid of the top and end. You want to cut your daikon into around 2inch / 5cm chunks. Set aside in a bowl of cold water to avoid the daikon drying out.
Pro tip: have you ever noticed people weighing the daikons in their hands when they pick one at the store? The higher the water content of a daikon the more likely it will be sweet and without woody fibres instead of slightly bitter and fibrous. So pick a few up and find one wth a good weight to size ratio!
3. Peel your ginger if there’s a lot of attached dirt, otherwise wash your ginger and keep the skin on. Then slice your ginger ito thick 0.5cm pieces. Set aside.
4. Peel your garlic and use the side of your knife to smack your garlic. If you’re using a chef knife and the blade is not as tall, gently place the side of your knife on top of your garlic clove and use your other hand to press firmly down to avoid injury. Set aside.
5. Heat your pot on high heat and drizzle about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. Spread it around the bottom of your pot.
6. Once the oil is hot, place your garlic and ginger. Turn the stove to low heat to avoid burning your aromatics. You’ll want to stir around and keep everything moving.
8. Once you see your garlic turning golden, it is time to sear your beef. Make sure each piece is getting a good amount of contact with the pot. This will take a 1-2 minutes on high heat.
9. Once your beef is well seared, you want to add your cooking wine and let it cook for about a minute before adding your oyster sauce, soy sauce, fermented bean curd and Chu Hou sauce. Mix well and then add enough water to cover your beef.
10. Once the water starts to simmer, you can add your rock sugar, cinnamon and star anise. DO NOT STIR. Just pop them in the middle and push them down in the pot a bit, but don’t stir.
11. Place the lid and turn your stove to medium heat. Add in your Daikon radish after 15min of braising. Most of the time the beef is already tender with 30min of braising, but decide for yourself after 30min if it needs to be left on the stove for longer. Also add water if needed.