How to cook: Chinese-style braised beef

I can’t resist a good recipe when I come across one. I was browsing food sites a couple of days ago, saw a one-pot Chinese-style braised beef recipe at BBC Good Food and I immediately experienced an adrenalin rush. It looked so good. I checked the ingredients and, in my mind, I just knew that the dish would taste good too.

My only objection was that the recipe required the beef to be cooked slowly in the oven. We’re trying to cut down on LPG consumption as I’ve said in a couple of posts recently and cooking the meat in the oven would mean using too much gas.

My first instinct was to use the slow cooker but, on second thought, I wondered if that wouldn’t mean consuming a lot of electricity which is just as expensive as cooking with LPG. I debated whether the convenience of being able to leave the meat in the slow cooker overnight with no supervision could justify the power consumption. In the end, I decided to use the pressure cooker. One hour and five minutes was all it took and the beef cooked wonderfully with the fat literally melting in the mouth. The aroma was insanely gorgeous.

Chinese-style braised beef

The original recipe uses five-spice powder, I had none, so I used the five spices that make up the five-spice powder — star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon bark and Sichuan peppercorns. If you have five-spice powder, a teaspoonful will do.

This recipe calls for rice wine and what you see in the photo above was what I used. Feel free to use any other rice wine like sake or mirin. If you don’t have rice wine, some say that sherry is a passable substitute.

The following recipe is tailor-made for the pressure cooker. You can, of course, opt to cook this on the stove-top or in the oven. Cooking on the stove-top will require occasional stirring and the cooking time would be around two hours to two-and-a-half hours. If you prefer to cook the meat in the oven, you can refer to the instructions in the original recipe.

Recipe: Chinese-style braised beef

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 k. of stewing beef, cut into two-inch cubes (I used short ribs; face, crest, shank or shoulder blade will also be good)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c. of flour
  • 4 tbsps. of cooking oil
  • 1/4 c. of roughly chopped scallions (onion leaves)
  • 1 tbsp. of minced garlic
  • a generous knob of ginger, julienned
  • 2 bird’s eye chilis, chopped
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon bark
  • 1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • a generous splash of rice wine
  • 2 c. of beef broth
  • 4 tbsps. of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsps. of dark brown sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • finely sliced scallions, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Place the beef in a single layer in a container with a tight lid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Chinese-style braised beef
  3. Sprinkle the flour on the meat, cover the container tightly and shake to coat each piece of meat with flour. Alternatively, use a resealable plastic bag.
  4. Heat the cooking oil in the pressure cooker. Brown the beef in batches.
  5. Chinese-style braised beef
  6. When all the beef had been browned, it’s time to saute the aromatics.
  7. Reheat the cooking oil in the pan and add the ginger, garlic, scallions, chilis, cinnamon bark, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns (of the five-spice powder, if that’s what you’re using). Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about two minutes.
  8. Chinese-style braised beef
  9. Pour in the rice wine.
  10. Scape the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. Allow the rice wine to almost evaporate, about a minute.
  11. Chinese-style braised beef
  12. Return the browned beef to the pan. Pour in the broth and soy sauce. Add the sugar. Stir. Taste the sauce and add salt, as needed (I don’t recommend adding more soy sauce because that will make the dish too dark and rather unattractive).
  13. Seal the lid on the pressure cooker, wait for the valve to whistle, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 60 to 65 minutes.
  14. Turn off the heat, wait for about ten minutes for the pressure to die down then remove the lid. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  15. Serve the braised beef hot with rice.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 to 5

  • kdolls

    My husband and kids love it! Thanks for sharing Ms.Connie :)

    • Connie

      You’re welcome. :)

  • Mary

    Connie – so glad I found this website. I love Asian flavors and pressure cooking! I have not made this dish yet but I certainly will. Last night I made a chuck roast in the pressure cooker with Hoisen sauce, sweet chili sauce and 1 cut of water + other spices. I cooked it for about 50 minutes. The meat was tender but it had kind of a burned tasted which was probably the sugar. Have you had this happen? I thought I might try this again but cook the meat first about 30 minutes in a beef stock and then add the sugary sauces later for another 30 minutes…. thanks for any comment.

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      At least an inch of liquid in the pressure cooker always helps. The amount would be variable though depending on the thickness of the meat. :)

  • tony

    Good day Connie,how much five-spice powder will i use in place of the other spices because that is what i have in the pantry.thanks for sharing wonderful recipes with us

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      The contents, and ratio or spices, of commercial 5-spice powder vary from brand to brand. So, I don’t know.

  • Evelyn

    Hi Ms. Connie,.any substitute for mirin in the country that alcohol is not allowed…and we can’t buy mirin here but i found a hoisin sauce and five spice powder is also available here.

    • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

      There is no non-alcoholic substitute for alcohol. :) You can just omit it but the dish won’t taste the same. It’ll lack a richness that only wine can provide.

  • Kelly

    Hi Connie,

    We are 10 minutes away from trying this…. it smells yummy… I have used something called gravy beef as it’s cheap, so it remains to be seen if that works! I’ll let you know.

  • Angela Ubaldo

    Looks yummy ! This is one of those weeks that i am running out of ideas on what to fix for dinner ( it is spring break and I am feeding my boys all day ). This looks like a good one to fix for dinner tomorrow ! Do you think it would be okay to add some baby bok choy, carrots and also a few sprigs of cilantro to it? Thanks for all your posts !

  • natzsm

    Ms. Connie,

    What a coincidence, I made use of exactly the same spice mix for my braised pork pata yesterday. I cooked it on the stove stop. Pork pata takes far less time to cook than beef and to save on energy, I usually cook 3 kilos worth of food at a time and freeze them in 1 liter freezable/microwavable containers for future consumption.

    With the price of LPG, one simply has to find ways of saving.

  • lilibeth

    thanks again for giving tips on how to save in lpg, in baking i use the turbo broiler with bunt pan, it’s work well in all of your cake recipe. God bless.

  • peterb

    That looks sooo good! Parang i can smell it too! haha
    I really need to find a sealing ring for our pressure cooker. I’ve been cooking beef for 3 weekends already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarendal Albert Rendal

    I’ll try this, thanks Connie…. :)

  • austin

    Hi Ms. Connie. I am cooking this dish right now in time for dinner and I opted for the slow cook using a cast iron pot.It has been cooking for 2 hours now and the hubby is coming home from work at 7pm. The meat is already tender but I still want to extend it for one hour para mas lumabas ang sarap ng beef.I used short ribs and some brisket, medyo may taba. Buti na lang medyo madaling palambutin ang beef dito sa Australia at kakaiba din ang lasa, parang lasang gatas..so creamy when it’s tender and it just melts in your mouth.Kaya when I tasted this dish, I took one slice & some sauce, sooo yummy talaga, with just the right kick of spice. Thanks heaps for sharing this easy to cook and yummy recipe.

  • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

    You’re so lucky to have access to good quality meat. :)

  • Aice

    I’m doing it now Ms. Connie Ü Good luck to moi Ü

  • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

    You can do it!

  • Regina

    Ginawa ko po ito a few weeks ago. Sobrang sarap po! Salamot po sa recipe!