So this weekend was Chinese new year, and we are now into the year of the snake! The snake is apparently known for its charm, wisdom, beauty and intelligence but also its pride and anger. So I’m not entirely sure what that means the year ahead will entail… What I do know is that it was a great excuse to try out out some new Chinese inspired cooking!
I decided to make the most of a rare quiet weekend and go for a slow-cooking option. I asked the butcher for some great slow-cooking beef (apparently shin, chuck or blade are best) and got to work!
To make the beef this is what I used (loosely based on a recipe in Olive Food Magazine)
(serves two, generously!)
- Around 500g braising beef, cut into large-ish chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- A chunk of ginger, grated
- 1 red and 1 green chilli
- A decent handful of spring onions
- 1 star anise
- 2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 2 tbsps muscovado sugar
- 4 tbsps mirin
- 2 tbsps dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 200 ml water
I literally just chucked everything into the pot (it smelt delicious already!) and whacked in the oven at 150C for two and a half hours.
After the two and a half hours was up, I scooped out the (meltingly tender) beef and thickened up the sauce on top of the hob. It looked so sticky and tasty and smelt so amazing it was difficult not to just dig in there with a spoon straight away! (Ok, so I did, chef’s perks and the importance of tasting! 😉 )
Having watched the lovely Ching He Huang on Saturday Kitchen that morning, I had the idea to tart up my rice a bit instead of just serving plain boiled white rice. I cooked the rice as usual, left it to cool a little, then in a hot wok added some more mirin, toasted sesame oil and dark soy (a good few slugs of each) as well as a touch more ginger, garlic and chilli. Once this was nice and hot, I tossed in the rice and stirred it around for a few minutes.
I had pak choi and red pepper to serve with this. I sliced the red pepper into nice thin strips then again in a very hot wok tossed in some more mirin, toasted sesame oil, dark soy, chilli, ginger and garlic plus a little water then quickly stir fried the pepper and pak choi.
Serve (preferably with a good glass of red!) and enjooooy!
(please ignore those two rogue bits of rice, which are driving me mad! Argh! Wipe the plate!!)
All in all, this was, by far, one of the tastiest things I have ever made. The beef was literally melt-in-the-mouth perfect, tossing the rice in the wok with those additional flavours really made an enormous difference, and the overall flavour of the sauce was just heavenly. Yuuummm!