I grew up eating this delicious dish of tender beef and tendon served with a wonderfully flavourful sauce, and have asked my mom to teach me how to make it for years! Finally, one Saturday morning, she let me in on her top secret Cantonese-style beef brisket and tendon stew recipe. Now, I’m sharing it with you…
The traditional dish includes beef tendon in addition to the brisket meat. Although I highly recommend including the tendon, less adventurous eaters may be averse to the gelatinous texture and opt to leave it out.
Be sure to ask me if you have any questions, especially if you’re not sure where to find some of the ingredients listed below! However, most of them you should be able to find at your local Asian supermarket (e.g. T & T Supermarket, Osaka, etc.).
Mom’s Cantonese-Style Beef Brisket
Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 2-3 hours / Total Time: 2-3.5 hours
- 3-4 lbs beef brisket, cut into 2″ x 1″ pieces
- 1-2 lbs beef tendon
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 slices of ginger, 1 inch long each
- 2 1/2 tbsp ground bean sauce
- 2.5 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp – light soy sauce
- 1 small piece of rock sugar (approximately 2″ x 1″ x 1″)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 4 star anise
- 1/2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn (also known as Chinese coriander)
- 1/2 tbsp cumin seed
- 3 slices of licorice root
- 1 dried orange peel
- 1 piece of cassia bark (sometimes known as cinnamon bark)
- Blanch the beef brisket in a large pot of boiling water. About 5-8 minutes, remove the beef and rinse under cold water. Drain excess water and set aside.
- Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a pot. Cook the sliced garlic and ginger on medium heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground bean sauce and cook on low heat for 1 minute.
- Add the blanched beef and spices, and stir well. Cook on medium heat until the beef is slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Tip: Package the smaller spices (star anise, peppercorn and cumin seed) into a loose leaf teabag for easy removal post-cooking.
- Add the soy sauces, oyster sauce, rock sugar, and salt to the beef, and stir well. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer with the lid on for 2-3 hours, or until tender. Stir approximately every half hour.
- Remove spices and/or spice bag. Taste and season with salt as needed.
Serving Suggestion: Steam lettuce or another choice of vegetable, and pour beef brisket with sauce on top and serve. Also great with steamed rice or, my personal favourite, vermicelli noodles!
Optional: Some versions of this dish include daikon radish or turnip, and scallion. If you’d like to add the radish or turnip, peel and cut them into 1-1/2-inch cubes. When the meat is tender, add the radish or turnip and stir to combine, then cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Stir halfway through the cooking time.
If adding scallions, trim and cut into 1-inch pieces. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the scallions, and let sit uncovered for 5 minutes.
Photo credit: Chowhound.com
Partial recipe credit: YiReservation.com