You never know what you’ll find in the depths of your freezer. While I was cleaning out my garage freezer, I found the last brisket from my summer order of Flying M Farm beef. Knowing this was a relatively small brisket, chili or bbq was out of the question, so I decided to take a look at my ever growing collection of cookbooks. After thumbing through a few, I stopped on Fuschia Dunlop’s “Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook” and went to the index. There weren’t too many beef centered recipes but there was one that caught my eye: Slow-Braised Beef with Potatoes or tu dou wei niu rou. With almost of the ingredients on hand, I started in on another Dunlop masterpiece.
Next the beef is blanched in boiling water
With the blanched beef off to the side, I got the rest of my ingredients ready.
Starting from the top and working clockwise, there’s 2 ½ cups of water, 1 tbsp dark soy sauce and 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 3 tbsp peanut oil, 1 ½ inch piece of sliced ginger and 1 small cinnamon stick and ½ star anise, 2 tbsp chili bean paste, 9 dried chilies, and 1 tsp chin kiang black rice vinegar. The recipe actually calls for clear rice vinegar, but this was all I had.
The 3 tbsp of peanut oil went into my wok over medium heat.
Since the bean paste was fragrant, in went the ginger, cinnamon, and star anise.
Next into the wok was the 2 ½ cups of water.
After an hour or so, I started in on the next step.
The meat was achingly tender, but what surprised me was the heat level. At first it seemed a little mild, but with each subsequent bite, the heat level grew.
Of course, this meal could only be made better by adding rice to the equation. I suppose this is the closest thing to Chinese beef and potatoes stew. It’s certainly not something you would encounter in everyday Chinese cuisine. While this was a tasty meal, it was achingly slow to finish and I’m not too sure if I would make it again. Oh well, there’s still plenty to try from the two Dunlop cookbooks.