Chinese Beef Stew

Stew beef + broth:
  • 1 kg of Stewed beef, cut up if you want. (I prefer mine with good amounts of fat for more juiciness.)
  • 5 cups of water.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 1/2 inch worth of ginger, cut up into slivers.
  • 3 tablespoons of five spice.
  • 1/2 cup of xiaoxing wine.
  • Some cooking oil.
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoons of white.
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 5 star anise.
  • Some salt.
  • A little bit of hoisin.
  • Pepper.
  • Optional: Monosodium glutamate.
  • Potato starch or cornstarch.
  • Potato starch.
  • Firm tofu, cut into cubes, then cut into triangles.
  • Nappa cabbage (Chinese lettuce)
  • Daikon radish OR water chestnuts.
  • Mushrooms (shiitake or other)
  • ... All chopped up.

This stew takes a bit of time, but results in a satisfying, warm, hearty stew. Also known as bean curd + beef a la casserole or Beef stew hotpot.

You can remove or add vegetables as you please, and you can add your own deep fried tofu pre-packaged if you have. I find mine tastier.

My version is with a pressure cooker, but I am pretty sure one can slowcook for immense flavour and tender meat, or simmer for at least 2 hours.
  1. Start by washing the meat so theres no blood. Put it in the pot of the pressure cooker. 
  2. Lightly fry the beef with a bit of oil in pot, just so the outsides are browned.
  3. Add the soy sauce, anise, five spice, xiaoxing wine, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, sugars and cinnamon. Add the water and put your pressure cooker on.
  4. Pressure cook for about 45 minutes to an hour. More if you like.
  5. Dredge the tofu in potato starch and deep fry. Set aside.
  6. Remove from heat from the pressure cooker (be careful!) and strain, putting the broth in another pot. (To remove scum)
  7. Add the meat into the broth. The broth should be worth 2 cups now that its been in pressure cooker. Put some of the anise and ginger in the new pot with meat.
  8. Add about 2 more cups of water or till you see fit.
  9. Add the vegetables and tofu, simmering it.
  10. Add a bit more wine (about 1/4 cup), a pinch of MSG, a teaspoon of soy sauce, a dash of the five spice and some potato starch to let it thicken.
  11. Serve on top of rice.