Chinese braised beef brisket

Although we use similar seasonings, our dishes still turn out to have unique tastes. This is part of the reason I love Asian cooking so much…

What’s fascinating about East Asian cuisine is that we all pretty much use the same seasoning in our kitchens: light or dark soy sauce, regular caster sugar or rock sugar, white pepper powder, oyster sauce, Shaoxing or some other kind of cooking wine, and dried spices such as cassia or Chinese cinnamon, star anise, Chinese liquorice, and ginger. Although we use similar seasonings, our dishes still turn out to have unique tastes. This is part of the reason I love Asian cooking so much, because you really only need to adjust the proportions of the seasonings and don’t need to source a wide variety of ingredients. 
I used a slow cooker for this recipe so that I didn’t need to be present during cooking. It took me about 3-4 hours, but you can shorten the cooking time by using an oven at 150C or cooking it on a regular stovetop for 1.5-2 hours. All you need to do is to make sure that the meat does not stick to the bottom of the pot by stirring it from time to time.
This recipe is great served on a bed of wheat noodles with plenty of sauce from the dish or over steamed rice and with freshly cooked greens as a side dish. (There’s a generous amount of sauce in this recipe, so you can use it to dip your noodles in or pour it over rice.) And don’t forget to pour Guilin Lin chili sauce on top, if you have some at home.

Serves 4


  • About 1.5 kg beef brisket (80% meat; keep the bone for cooking), trimmed, cut into 5 cm chunks

For marinade:

  • 1 large piece red fermented bean curd
  • 2 tbsp red miso paste or yellow bean sauce
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 6 pieces star anise
  • 4 big garlic cloves, bruised
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, thick sliced and bruised 
  • Oil for cooking
  • 3 cups water

Recipe Preparation

Put beef chunks into a large pot and fill with water to cover beef completely. Bring it to a boil and blanch the beef for 3 minutes. Drain with a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Clean pot and use for next step.
Place all marinade ingredients in small mixing bowl (except ginger and garlic). Mix until well combined. Set aside.
Using the same pot that was used for beef, heat about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil at medium heat. When hot, fry ginger and garlic until fragrant, taking care not to burn garlic. Add beef chunks, stir briefly, then add marinade into the pot. Stir well until completely coated. Add 3 cups of water and mix well. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 1.5 hours or until tender. Stir mixture every now and then to make sure that the beef doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pot.
Serve over wheat noodles or rice.


Since there is not much sugar or starch content in this recipe, the sauce does not come out thick at all, so the consistency is perfect for pouring over noodles or rice. But if you would prefer a thicker sauce, follow the directions below. This method only works if you make the sauce immediately, because it will not have the same consistency once you reheat the starchy water.


Use a fork or teaspoon to mix 1/3 cup of lukewarm water with 1 tbsp corn starch in a small bowl. Drain beef and put it on a separate plate, Keep original sauce in the pot at medium heat. Slowly pour the corn starch water into the sauce and stir until thickened. Serve immediately.

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