STAR ANISE BRAISED BEEF AND SHORTRIBS
I have always loved star anise (chinese: 八角, meaning “eight corners” since you’ll notice that the star anise has eight separate rays, each one containing a seed). It’s just so pretty! Not only does it have a beautiful shape but it also has an incredibly unique anise flavor. For such a small, delicate looking spice, it really packs a punch of flavor. One to two star anise goes a long way.
This braising liquid is extremely versatile, use it to braise chicken, beef, short ribs, eggs, and tofu. My mom has got this braising liquid down to an art. She usually just throws this and that in, pops in a star anise, and lets the meat do its thing…but I begged her for some measurements so I could share it with you guys.
As is a lot of Chinese style home cooking, not following the recipe won’t ruin your dish but will only make you love the flavor more. Cook to your taste! You can add more ginger, put less soy sauce in, add chilies, etc.
- 1 1/2 lb braising meat (beef shank, short ribs, etc.) cut into 1 in. cubes
- 1 inch peeled ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
Using plenty of oil and heating until it’s hot, add in ginger and garlic, frying until fragrant but not too browned. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the brown sugar, five spice powder, wine, soy sauce, chicken stock, star anise and cinnamon stick. Stir well. Cover the pot and let it come to a boil, then lower until it’s at a simmer. Let it braise for at least two hours. Check periodically to see that there is enough stock to keep the beef covered. If there isn’t, add some water so that beef is submerged in braising liquid.
After at least 1 1/2 hours, with a fork, check the meat. It should be literally falling off the bone at the touch of your fork…yum! In my opinion, best served over rice, with plenty of braising liquid to garnish.