Thursday, 27 November 2014

Beef Braised with Daikon

I’d searched high and low for the daikon that I originally used for the Korean Ramyun: it was massive, nearly 2 foot long, so I was damned if I was going to waste the rest of it after all that palaver.

A few internet searches came up with this Cantonese dish - it should be made with “chou hou sauce” which is a braising sauce made from soybeans, garlic and ginger and sometimes sesame too. My generously stocked Asian cupboard (yes I have one) doesn’t include any of this sauce but apparently hoisin is similar so my intention was to use that instead as well as to add a star anise to help replicate chou hou’s slightly sweet, anise-y taste. And some added sesame oil hopefully takes care of that side of things too

As it turns out I couldn’t find my hoisin sauce (unfortunately I wasn’t actually looking hard enough as I have packets of the stuff brought back from China) so used oyster sauce instead. As I was tasting during the cooking process it occurred to me that chou hou is supposed to be slightly spicy, made from soybeans and with a slight aniseed flavour. A bit like gochujang then so after about an hour (when this occurred to me) I stirred in a teaspoon of it.

Slow cooking will give you melt-in-the-mouth beef and tender daikon infused with a delicious and rich meaty flavour plus a gorgeous sauce that is terrific over plain white rice.

Braised Beef and Daikon
serves 3 with rice.

500g stewing beef, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp rapeseed or groundnut oil
3 thick slices ginger
2 large garlic cloves, bashed
1-2 dried red chilli, left whole
60ml Shaoxing wine
1½ tbsp oyster sauce
½ -1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ - 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ heaped tsp miso paste
1 star anise
1 small stick cassia bark
small pinch of white pepper
½ tsp palm sugar
200ml chicken stock
250-300g daikon, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tbsp potato starch or corn flour
3-4 spring onion, green parts only, finely sliced
2 tsp sesame oil, to finish

Blanch the beef in boiling water in a medium pan for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Wipe the pan then heat the oil in it over a medium heat. Brown the beef on all sides in batches. Put all the beef back in the pan then add the ginger, chillies, star anise, cassia, garlic, soy & oyster sauces, miso, Shaoxing, pepper and sugar. Stir for a minute or two until aromatic.

Add all the other ingredients up to, but not including, the daikon and stir to mix. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that everything is just at a simmer. Half cover the pot and let it do its thing for about 1½ to 2 hours.

After 1½ hours check that the beef is getting tender then add the daikon for the final 40 minutes or so. 

Mix up a cornstarch slurry by combining the cornstarch with cold water and then stir as much as you desire into the sauce to thicken it to your liking.

Serve with rice scattered over with spring onion greens and sprinkled with the sesame oil before serving.

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