Brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest otherwise known as the breast of beef. It is one of the primal cuts in beef and contains a significant amount of connective tissue since these muscles work hard to support most of the animal’s body weight. There are countless ways to cook brisket, but regardless of each cultural variation, slow and moist cooking methods are common to all methods to tenderize the connective tissue.
As far as Asian cuisine is concerned, beef brisket is one of my husband’s most favourite choices. It’s his fall back plan when we are at a restaurant and feeling indecisive with the menu. We are both familiar with Cantonese style beef brisket, and it is sort of like comfort food when served in the right combination of white rice or noodles. In areas of southern China, most notably Hong Kong, brisket is cooked with Asian style spices over low heat until tender and is commonly served with noodles in soup.
I was experimenting with my beef brisket recipe to serve at our next house party for somewhere in the order of 50 guests. The most wonderful element of this dish is that it tastes delicious as one recipe portion or when multiplied to get more servings. The brisket in this recipe turned out extremely tender with a hint of sweetness that got everyone coming back for seconds! Serve it with noodles or on a bed of rice. You can even store it in the fridge or freezer and reheat to serve as a noodle topping. The flavors were even tastier after one overnight storage.
1 1/2 lbs boneless beef belly (brisket), rinsed and cut into cubes
3 cups daikon radish, peeled and chopped into cubes
4 cloves garlic
Shaoxing Wine (紹興酒)
5 slices Ginger
1 1/2 tbsp chu hou (柱侯) sauce
1 Star Anise
Pinch of cinnamon
Small piece of rock sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
Dash white pepper
Cornstarch to thicken
Heat vegetable oil in pot over medium high heat. Add beef in single layer and brown all sides. Work in batches if necessary. Set aside.
In the same pot, add ginger and garlic, sauté until fragrant. Deglaze with Shaoxing wine, scraping sides of pot. Allow to reduce for couple minutes.
Add beef brisket and chu hou sauce. Stir well to combine. Add star anise, cinnamon, rock sugar, soy sauce, white pepper, and enough water to cover all ingredients. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, covered, for one hour stirring occasionally. Liquid should reduce. Add more water if necessary.
Add daikon and cover to simmer for another hour. Liquid should reduce to about half the volume from the start.
Strain out the beef and daikon, set aside. Whisk cornstarch with water and add to pot. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, and simmer to desired consistency.
Add beef and daikon back to pot, mix well with the sauce, and remove from heat.
Serve hot over rice or noodles.