Outdoors it is snowing in great flakes. Indoors beef broth is warmly bubbling and boiling in an earthenware pot, filling the whole house with the scent of savory meat. This is a food memory for many native Chinese on snowy days. Weather in March is really moody in Philadelphia. The other day we still enjoyed congenial sunshine and breeze. Today a heavy fall of snow came out of the blue and the temperature dropped sharply. I cooked a pot of beef and white radishes for my family for dinner.
Beef and white radishes are a perfect match in Chinese cuisine. In our culture, beef is believed to be warm-nature meat which can help keep out the cold. White radishes are traditionally a winter vegetable rich in mustard oil, amylase and crude fiber, stimulating digestion and and assimilation. Chinese prefer niu nan (牛腩) and beef shank when using a stewing method. For niu nan (牛腩), there is no equivalent translation in English because Chinese and Westerners process beef very differently. Niu nan (牛腩) can refer to many parts such as brisket, flank, ribs, skirt steak, etc. as long as this part contains lean meat, fat and tendon. For Chinese beef noodles, niu nan (牛腩) noodles are the best.
Stewed Beef Shank with White Radishes
- Two pounds pasture-raised beef shank, chopped into 2-inch cubes
- Two white radishes, about 2.5 pounds, peeled and chopped into 2-inch cubes
- One tablespoon grapeseed oil
- Three pieces of one-inch ginger
- Three star anise
- One piece of 2-inch Chinese cinnamon
- Half a tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- One tablespoon LEE KUM KEE PREMIUM DARK SOY SAUCE
- Two tablespoons of LEEK KUM KEE DOUBLE FERMENTED SOY SAUCE
- Half a tablespoon of sugar
- One teaspoon of Chinese liquor
- Salt to taste
- In a wok, pour enough water to cover the beef. Turn on the fire and boil until you can not see no more scum come out, for about 15 minutes.
- Discard all the water with scum and rinse the beef.
- Heat cooking oil in the wok and stir fry beef for two minutes.
- Add two kinds of soy sauce, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and Chinese cinnamon to stir fry for three minutes.
- Add eight cups of water.
- Transfer all to a sizable earthenware pot. Add white liquor and sugar. Bring a boil first, cover the lid and simmer over medium fire when beef shank is 90% cooked, for one hour.
- Add all the white radishes to continue to boil until all radishes cooked, for about 40 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Transfer to a serving pot and garnish with some spring onions.
- Chinese liquor functions well in helping beef cooked faster. If you can not find it available, you can use Chinese cooking wine.
- You need to wait until beef is 90% cooked and add white radishes.
- This dish can be made in InstantPot or a slow cooker.
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