NON-VEGETARIAN/ DAIRY-FREE / GLUTEN-FREE
February 21, 2021
How to, with minimum effort, turn cheaper beef cuts into melt-in-the-mouth bites with amazing taste? In this post, I will show you the simplest and fail-proof way to cook beef with clear water braising. Once braised, the beef can be used to make various dishes, however and whenever you want it!
Two simple steps are involved in clear water braising.
1. Wash the beef. Perhaps you’ve never heard of the idea of washing beef, but washing before cooking is the key to bring out the finer natural flavors of beef. Wash the beef chunks with cold tap water until the water runs clear.
As a side note, in Chinese cooking, washing before cooking is one of the basic principals of handling red meats, which is similar to how more “gamey” meats are sometimes treated in Western cooking to pull out excessive blood which contributes to the “gamey” taste. Beef is not considered gamey, but washing will improve beef’s taste immensely without the more subtle natural flavors being overpowered by the pungent smell of impurities.
2. Gentle boiling. This is the key to achieve the tender texture of the beef. Start with cold water and large beef pieces and let time do its work. Your kitchen will be filled with a irresistible umami smell in about 30 minutes, and you will finish with very tender pieces in about 60 minutes.
CLEAR WATER BRAISED BEEF
PREPARATION: 5 min BRAISING: 1 to 1.5 hours
- 1 kg beef (chuck or rump steak or beef brisket), cut into 4 large pieces
- a few pieces of ginger, 2 spring onions and 2 de-seeded dried chillis (optional)
- Wash the beef: In a large bowl, soak the beef in cold tap water for half minute, rub gently with hands to help pull out the blood in the beef. Tip the water, repeat the above step a few times until the water is clear.
- Braise the beef: Transfer the beef into a large pot, add the ginger and spring onions, then add cold water until the beef is completely covered. Turn the heat on high and bring the water to boil. Take out the scum floating on top of the boiling water with a strainer until the water is clear (general after about 2 minutes). Turn the heat to medium or low, cover the pot, leave the water bubble gently for 60 to 90 minutes or until the beef is tender.
- Use the beef immediately, or leave to cool, then store the beef and the broth separately in the fridge for use later.
- Although the use of ginger and spring onions in braising meat is followed almost religiously in Chinese cooking, if you don’t have both, don’t panic. I’ve braised beef plenty times in just water, especially when I on road trips. It is more important to wash the beef thoroughly and keep the broth clear during cooking.