Hello again, sorry it’s been a while, work’s been picking up a bit and then I had some computer problems but I’m back and ready to talk food.
This was the last recipe I tried to do on my budget week. I liked the sound of the title and it was on the trusted BBC GoodFood website so off I went. You can see the original recipe here.
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
- Good thumb-size piece fresh root ginger , peeled and shredded
- 1 bunch spring onions , sliced
- 1 red chilli , deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1½ kg braising beef , cut into large pieces (we used ox cheek)
- 2 tbsp plain flour , well seasoned
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 star anise (optional)
- 2 tsp light muscovado 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 (we used Knorr Touch of Taste)
- Steamed bok choi and steamed basmati rice, to serve
- 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.
I’m a bit of a pedant and I don’t like ambiguity in my recipes so I don’t like it when someone says ‘a good thumb-size piece of ginger’. Just take my thumb versus Wife’s thumb, it’s miles bigger and the worst thing about that is that she’s much more of a ginger lover than I am. To be honest though, that was the only problem as it’s a really simple recipe to follow.
The result is a gingery, beefy, little bit oily, soupy type stew which, for my tastes, could have done with a lot more spice and a bit more flavour. Don’t get me wrong, it was alright but the simple use of ginger, garlic, 5 spice and star anise really isn’t enough to compensate for the volumes you’re using in this one.
I forgot to add the pak choi to the dish as well so I can’t comment on that element of it. I just served it with some of my perfect rice which helped give it some weight. I can confirm that it is Chinese style but that’s as far as I’d go. It’s OK and that’s all.