The particular combination of spices is what really sets this braised beef brisket Chinese style dish apart from other beef noodle dishes. The flavours of cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom seeds merge to give this dish a very distinct and alluring character.
During a visit to Singapore, we ate at a Hong Kong street food-inspired restaurant. The Hong Kong style braised beef brisket and noodle soup we enjoyed there was a revelation, so delicious we went back the next day for more. The beef was so tender, and the broth so intense and complex.
Cantonese cuisine was a new area for me, though not all that unfamiliar given the Chinese influence on Vietnamese food. Chinese restaurants are very common in Vietnam so I started actually eating at some. I synthesised and experimented, and came up with braised beef brisket Chinese style.
As with many of the dishes on delectabilia, they are not re-creations of familiar dishes but rather inspired by those classics. Here I moved away from a noodle soup. I used the braising juices to create a rich and tasty gravy to pour over the braised beef pieces, daikon, and noodles. Not what I had in the Singapore restaurant, but an even more intense taste experience.
Brisket is a very tasty cut of beef, yet needs a long cook time to be tender enough to eat. When you take that time, it is such a great protein base for your creations. Drawing on some Vietnamese and Japanese influences, this bo kho gyoza was amazing for similar reasons.
Cantonese braised beef brisket on noodles
- 1 kg beef brisket after trimming off any fat
- 1 litre brown chicken stock
- 150 g of ginger 3 “thumbs”
- 1 onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 500 g daikon 2 or 3 tubors asian white radish. Carrots will work if you cannot get daikon
- 5 star anise
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 bay leaves
- 5 cardamon seeds
- 4 pieces dried tangerine peel roughly the peel from one tangerine
- 100 g Chu Hou paste or Black Bean Garlic Sauce
- 100 ml rice wine shaoxing or sake
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 400 g dried noodles Use your favourite type
- Remove as much fat as possible from the beef brisket, cut into roughly 25mm x 25mm pieces.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and boil the beef pieces for 5 minutes to remove the scum.
- Drain the beef and wash under fresh water. Add to a dutch oven (or asian equivalent)
- In a frying pan, simmer the finely chopped onion, garlic, and ginger and translucent and fragrent.
- Add the star anise, pepper, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamon seeds, and tangerine peel.
- Simmer until very fragrant. 3 to 4 minutes or so.
- Add the Chu Hou sauce, rice wine, fermented bean curd, five spice powder, and soy sauce.
- Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
- Add the spice mixture to the beef, as well as a litre of stock.
- Stir then put in the oven at 140 degC for 3 hours.
- Peel and dice the daikon into 1 or 2 cm pieces.
- Remove beef from the oven, skim any fat off the surface, and add the daikon.
- Return to the oven for another 2 hours, with the lid a little ajar so that there is some evaporation and the sauce thickens.
- Remove the beef and the daikon from the sauce and put back in the oven to keep warm.
- Strain the sauce to obtain a smooth rich liquid. Return to heat in a wide pan. Reduce by a third.
- Dissolve some cornflour into some cold water.
- Add to slowly to the reduced stock until it thickens to just the right consistency