Amazingly delightful, and spicy, but less numbing then the original version braised beef from Sichuan region. This sensational, rich, meltingly tender beef get its dark gravy not from soy sauce, but from black bean-chili paste. Fatty meat is way to go for making this recipe, lean meat though, I can't stop you from using it, but I can't guarantee it will have the same velvety, melt in your mouth texture.
This scallion & chili-blackbean paste is really delicious. Each time I make this paste, I always double the recipe and save some portion to keep it in my refrigarator. It's ridiculously delicious that I am little bit shy to admit that I simply eat it just with rice and fried egg. Yes, it's that good.
*Cao Guo or Tsao Kuo can be find in most Chinese supermarket. It is also know as false cardamom, since the color is dark brown instead of green, and is larger in size (roughly the size of nutmeg) then the true cardamom.
Recipe adapted from Fuchia Dunlop's Land of Plenty
serve 4 as main dish
3 pounds fatty meat such as short ribs, or beef shank
1 quart beef stock
1 star anise
1 cao guo*
4 tbs Shaoxing rice wine
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1½ pounds daikon (Asian white radish), cut into large chunks
1 - 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
Scallions & chili blackbean paste:
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 inches piece of ginger, minced
4 scallions, chopped
6 tablespoon chili-blackbean paste
1/4 tsp whole Sichuan pepper, crushed
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Rinse meat under cold running water to remove excess blood, then blanch it (in boiling water) for 2 minutes until the scum risen to the surface. Immediately remove the meat from the boiling water, discard the water, and rinse the meat under cold running water. If you are using beef shanks, you can separate the meat from the shanks and cut them into 2-inch chunks. I like to leave them whole. Return the meat into the pot. Add beef stock, star anise, and cao guo. Place the pot back in a medium heat stove.
Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat, add minced ginger, chopped scallions, chili-blackbean paste, and crushed Sichuan pepper. Stir fry for 30 seconds, or until oil becoming red color and releases its fragrant aroma. Transfer this mixture into beef pot, along with Shaoxing rice wine, and dark soy sauce, and bring it to a boil, skim any scums if necessary. Turn the heat to low, simmer for 2 to 2½ hours, until the meat is tender.
When the meat is nearly done, add daikon and carrots. Continue to simmer until root vegetables are tender. I love to serve this with fragrant steam jasmine rice, and a few stir fry vegetables side dishes (Sichuan-style). But, you can also serve it in a simple way, just with plain rice.