Cantonese style braised beef flank or brisket with soy sauce, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cardamom and ginger.

Cantonese braised beef flank with spices and soy sauce, memories of a hawker stall on the ‘Poetry Road’

Ingredients

  • 1kg beef flank or brisket, trim off excess fat, cut into 1-1.5 inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch, mix with 3 tbsp. of water
Beef flank, diced
Beef flank, diced

Lao sui’ stock

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sugar (I use Chinese rock sugar)
  • 4 star anise
  • 6  bay leaves
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (approx. 10g)
  • 1 tsp pepper corns, lighted crushed
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • a few cardamom pods, crushed
  • fresh ginger (approx. 20g or to taste), sliced
  • salt to taste

Star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, clove, cardamom, fennel and cinnamon stick
Star anise, Sichuan peppercorn, clove, cardamom, fennel and cinnamon stick
Chinese rock sugar, ginger, bay leaves
Chinese rock sugar, ginger, bay leaves

Method

  • In a large saucepan, add beef and ingredients for the stock, top with stuffiest water to submerge the beef,  bring to boil; turn the heat down, simmer (a slow boil) for 1.5 to 2 hours with a lid on; check the beef, it should be tender and juicy
  • Add the corn starch mixture to the saucepan, bring to a slow boil, mix well to thicken to stock
  • Serve hot with rice
Beef flank ready to be cooked
Beef flank ready to be cooked

Save

Memories of a hawker stall on the ‘Poetry Road’Save

For many years, I walked down a street commonly known as the ‘Poetry Book Road’ to go to school in the mornings.  I was given ten cents allowance for breakfast, which was just enough for two plain steamed buns.

At the end of the street, there was a tiny hawker stall selling braised beef flank and pig intestines. In winters, the hot steam rose from her big pots. The aroma of soy, star anise and clove lingered in the air, mouth-watering and irresistible. The stall operator was a middle age woman, short, chubby and never smiled. She had a pair of gigantic scissors that made loud ‘chop chop chop’ sound. When she received an order, she cut some small pieces off a larger piece, skillfully threading them to a bamboo stick without touching them with her hands.  A stick with 3 pieces of juicy, fatty and heart-warming meat cost 10 cents. It was a difficult decision for a little girl – spending the 10 cents on a meat stick and be hungry for the rest of the morning, or two plain buns. I took some deep breaths (the aroma was so good) and nibbled on the tasteless buns.

A street vendor selling beef flank offal, Guangzhou, China, 2017
A street vendor selling beef flank offal, Guangzhou, China, 2017

I cooked beef flank many times over the past many years. It always brought back memories of the hawker stall on the Poetry Book Road.

Cantonese style braised beef flank or brisket with soy sauce, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cardamom and ginger.

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