Friday, December 15, 2017

Five-Spice Soy-Braised Beef Shank with Sesame Oil (Lu Niu Jian)

Soy-braised five-spice beef shank with sesame oil is a traditional cold appetizer that's often served at Chinese banquets. It's also great with rice, scallion pancakes (I like this combo for breakfast), in noodles, or as is. Five-spice beef is readily available sliced, packaged and ready to eat in many Chinese Markets, e.g., 99 Ranch Market, but since there are few to none in my hood, I decided it was high time to make my own. 

2-lb. beef shank, cut in half

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3-4 slices of ginger, about 2" each
3 scallions, cut into 1" sections
3 cloves garlic, smashed

3-4 cups water (or enough to cover the beef)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Shaohsing or Chinese rice wine
1 piece of dried orange peel (or 3 fresh, about 2" each)
1 tsp. coriander seed
2 star anise
2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp. five spice powder

2 tbsp. sesame oil

Chopped cilantro
Sliced scallions
Sliced Fresno chiles or Jalapeños

1. In a medium stock pot, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium high heat and add ginger, scallions, and garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. 

2. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the sesame oil and garnish) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and simmer 3 hours. 

3. Turn off heat and let the beef shank cool at least 1 hour or until they can be handled. 

4. Remove the beef shank from the braising liquid to a chopping board and cut into thin slices. Place the slices in a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. of sesame oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at least 30 minutes before serving. If not serving right away, refrigerate up to 3-4 days until ready to use. 

5. To serve: plate the beef shank slices and top with chopped cilantro, scallions, and sliced fresh chiles, if desired. Great as a cold or room temperature appetizer. 

Sliced ginger, scallions, garlic cloves, and fresh orange peels.

Saute the ginger, scallions and garlic in 1 tbsp. oil about 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the beef shank to the pot. 

Then add the remaining ingredients, including enough water to just cover the beef. 

Simmer, covered, for 3 hours or until the beef is very tender.

Braising ingredients: rock sugar, soy sauce, Shaohsing wine, Szechuan peppercorns. star anise, coriander seed, and Chinese five spice powder.

Slice the cooled beef shank into thin slices.

Place in a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. sesame oil; 
cover and let sit at least 30 minutes before serving.

Plate the beef slices and garnish with chopped cilantro, scallions, and sliced chiles. 
Best to serve at room temperature as an appetizer.

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