Chinese braised beef shank is a cold appetizer that is very typical in Chinese restaurants. It is also one of the best protein toppings you can add to your noodles. The beef shank is first braised then chilled in the fridge so that it can be thinly sliced and enjoyed.
Key ingredients for Chinese braised beef shank
This recipe calls for beef shank which is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat. It is extremely tough and has connective tissue which is why you need to braise it to enjoy. I would recommend getting ones that are thinner because they will shrink and thicken as you braise it.
There are a number of aromatics I use which gives the braised beef shank its distinct flavor. There are 6 different dry aromatics which are star anise, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cloves (flos caryophylli), Sichuan peppercorns, and orange peel. Feel free to add or leave out certain aromatics if you are unable to find them. The main ones I would recommend you have are star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves.
Dark soy sauce
There are many different types of dark soy sauce out there. The brand I use is pearl river bridge and I like the mushroom flavor the most.
How to know when Chinese braised beef shank is ready?
When cooking the beef shank, you’ll want to make sure it is cooked enough so that the meat is not too tough, but not so much so that it falls apart to the touch. A good indicator I found is being able to poke a chopstick through it without the meat falling apart. When braising, you don’t want to fully close the lid to prevent overflow.
What to do with remaining braising liquid?
After braising the beef shank, you can actually keep the liquid in the fridge or freezer and reuse it many times. Traditionally in Chinese cooking, the more you use it, the more flavorful it becomes. We love to marinate our eggs in them as well.
Chinese Braised Beef Shank
- 1½ – 2 lbs beef shank (2 pieces)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 8 cloves garlic
- 4 slices ginger
- 1 large shallot
- 3½ cups water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- 80 g rock or brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
- 7 star anise
- 1½ tbsp cloves
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 dried orange peel
- Boil beef shank in hot water for 5 minutes and strain. This removes impurities in the beef before cooking it.1½ – 2 lbs beef shank
- In a pot, add 1 tbsp of oil and heat over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and shallots (cut into quarters) and cook for 1 minute until aromatic.1 tbsp oil, 8 cloves garlic, 4 slices ginger, 1 large shallot
- Add dry aromatics and cook for 30 seconds.7 star anise, 1½ tbsp cloves, 4 bay leaves, 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 dried orange peel
- Add water, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar. Bring up to a boil.3½ cups water, 1 cup soy sauce, ¼ cup dark soy sauce, 80 g rock or brown sugar
- Add beef shank back in along with rice wine.1½ – 2 lbs beef shank, 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
- Reduce to medium heat and don't fully cover it with a lid, leaving some breathing space. Cook for 1 hour, flipping the meat half way through.
- Strain out the meat and all aromatics. Let the meat fully cool down in the fridge.
- Thinly slice against the grain and serve with some more braising liquid or on noodles.
If you enjoyed this one, check out some more noodle recipes here: