Here in Toronto, we’re nervously watching the snow fall early this November, I couldn’t help but plan a hearty, soul satisfying stew for dinner. While you really can’t go wrong with a simple beef stew, as I work in an Asian specialist travel department, my diet often (unsurprisingly) takes an eastern twist. Below is a tasty recipe, a spin on beef stew with a Chinese punch. Crispy bok choi, salty soy, garlic and chilli’s just knock this one-pot dish of my taste-charts. My only warning is that after acquiring a taste for such flavours, you’ll never be able to go back to a basic beef stew!
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- good thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded/grated
- 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
- 1½ kg braising beef, cut into large pieces
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 star anise (optional)
- 2 tsp light sugar (or use whatever you’ve got)
- 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce, plus more to serve
- 500ml beef stock
- Bok choi
- Cooked basmati rice
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, shallow casserole. Fry the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli for 3 mins until soft and fragrant. Tip onto a plate. Toss the beef in the flour, add 1 tbsp more oil to the pan, then brown the meat in batches, adding the final tbsp oil if you need to. It should take about 5 mins to brown each batch properly.
- Add the five-spice and star anise (if using) to the pan, tip in the gingery mix, then fry for 1 min until the spices are fragrant. Add the sugar, then the beef and stir until combined. Keep the heat high, then splash in the wine or sherry, scraping up any meaty bits. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2.
- Pour in the soy and stock (it won’t cover the meat completely), bring to a simmer, then tightly cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½-2 hrs, stirring the meat halfway through. The meat should be very soft, and any sinewy bits should have melted away. Season with more soy. This can now be chilled and frozen for up to 1 month.
- Nestle the cooked bok choi into the pan, then bring to the table with the basmati rice straight away and tuck in.