This is one of the most delicious appetisers from Sichuan. It's packed with flavour, but with none of the chilli heat or tingling Sichuan pepper. The beef is cooked until tender in a master stock. As with all Chinese master stocks, Dainty Sichuan's own is several years old. Master stock can be used time and again, with the fresh additions of ginger and spring onion. Strain the cooled stock and freeze until required, then be sure to bring to the boil before reusing.
- 1 small boneless beef shin (about 800gm)
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 3 litres chicken stock (12 cups)
- 20 gm ginger, finely chopped
- 1½ tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp dried aromatic ginger pieces (see note)
- ½ tsp whole cloves
- 4 dried small red chillies
- 4 star anise
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1 cassia bark quill
- 1 piece dried mandarin peel
- 1 spring onion, cut into 3cm lengths
- 100 gm caster sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 20 ml Shaoxing wine
- ¾ tsp ground white pepper
- 1Rinse beef under cold running water. Bring a large saucepan of water to the simmer. Add beef and simmer over medium heat to remove blood (5 minutes). Drain well, rinse under cold water and set aside.
- 2For master stock, bring ingredients (except sugar, oil, Shaoxing wine and pepper) to the simmer over high heat, add 2 tbsp sea salt, reduce heat to low and gently simmer to infuse (30 minutes). Meanwhile, stir sugar, oil and 1 cup (250ml) water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, bring to the boil and cook until caramelised, then add to master stock with Shaoxing wine and pepper.
- 3Add beef to stock and simmer until just tender (45-50 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside until beef is cool to touch (3-4 hours). Remove beef (reserve master stock for another use) and thinly slice across the grain, drizzle with sesame oil and serve at room temperature drizzled generously with master stock and scattered with sesame seeds and coriander.
Note Dried aromatic ginger (Kaempferia galanga) is sold in slices from Chinese grocers under the name of sha jiang.
Drink Suggestion: Fragrant earthy grenache