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Braised Beef Shank {Chines Style Jiang Niu Rou}

by Shirley
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Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou}

Braised Beef Shank Chinese style or Jiang Niu Rou {酱牛肉} in Chinese is a well-liked traditional food in China. It features a juicy and tasty beef shank cut into thin slices. They are popular appetizer items served at cold or room temperature.

A common myth about beef shank is that we need to cook it for a long time. However, for this Chinese style Jiang Niu Rou, you can cook a super juicy and delicious beef shank in 20 minutes.

Keep reading to learn the braised beef shank story and how to make it perfectly every time!

Braised Beef Shank Story

Beef is not a typical common everyday meat choice for traditional Chinese cooking except for a handful of areas such as Inner Mongolia. Pork and poultry are more common.

However, the braised beef shank has always been there, an extraordinarily popular dish that has a rich, beautiful color and flavor. People enjoy it as a cold appetizer dish, snack, or as toppings to noodle soup.

braised beef shank chinese style

They are almost always served in thin slices, similar to that of Italian beef. We cut beef shank as thin as possible across the grain, which then creates a beautiful marble pattern where tendons lie. This gives the braised beef shank an additional just the right amount of chewy texture.

What do you need to make Chinese style braised beef shank?

First thing first is the fresh, quality beef shank, in the whole round form.

beef shank

You will need the braising condiments too.

braised beef shank ingredients
Braised Beef Shank 20 Min Deliciousness Ingredients

Chinese simple & tasty cooking essential condiments: aged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, Zhenjiang vinegar.

Additional Chinese simple & tasty cooking condiments: sweet bean paste and red yeast rice powder.

Red Yeast Rice and Red Yeast Rice Powder
Red Yeast Rice and Red Yeast Rice Powder

Red yeast rice is white rice fermented in a certain way that turns the rice into red color. Ancient all-natural food color in China, especially in the Yangtze River Delta area.

I use a spice grinder to turn red yeast rice into powder for easier home cooking, which works exceptionally well.

It is my go-to red food color for cooking meat, poultry where we desire a shining red color. For instance, Red Braised Pork Belly, Red Braised Lion’s Head, or this one-pot Pork with Potato & Carrots dish where I want a hint of red color.

Dried spices: star-anises, bay leaves, and cardamom, and white pepper. All are popular for Chinese cooking of meat or poultry.

Fresh spices: green onion and ginger. Together with garlic, they are the three basic essential fresh spices for Chinese cooking. Cilantro is for garnish, it is a delicious herb.

Canola oil or other cooking oil such as avocado oil, only need 1 tsp of it.

Sugar: I use sugar in the raw for most of my cooking.

How do you cook Braised Beef from scratch?

Cook this tasty beef shank is incredibly easy. Just sear the beef shank properly first and then add water and seasonings and braising for 20 minutes. See Recipe for detailed step-by-step detailed cooking instructions. Here are key steps:

Soak the beef in cold water before cooking

beef shank soaked in cold water

Cut Beef Shank into halves

Cut beef shank vertically into halves for easy cooking.

beef shank cut into halves

3. Sear the Beef Shank Before Braising

Turn the heat to medium-high and heat a wok for 2 minutes. Add a bit of cooking oil, green onions, and ginger slices, stir for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Lay beef shank flat, cook for 1.5 minutes and then flip and cook the other side for 1.5 minutes.

sear the beef shank

This is an important step. The searing process helps keep the beef shank juicy and cooks beef shank faster.

Braising for 20 minutes

After searing the beef, add water and rest of the seasonings to the wok. Noticing the water barely covers the beef shank.

bee shank in the wok with spices

Mix the seasonings in the water well, cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat.

beef shank braised in the wok

After 10 minutes’ braising, turn the heat to low, and flip the beef shank and cook the other side for another 10 minutes. The glass lid makes monitoring cooking inside the wok easier.

I use two types of lids for the wok. If I use the wok for steaming, I use a dome shaped lid to create more space for steaming hot air.

beef shank braised in the wok

4. Let freshly braised beef shank to cool

After braising the beef shank for 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Flip beef shank and mix them with the juice in the wok. Let them rest in the remaining braising juice for 10 minutes. Following that, remove them from the pot, place them onto a plate, and let them cool to room temperature before slicing them into thin slices.

freshly cooked beef shank

Once the beef shank cools down, cut it into thin slices, garnish with cilantro, drizzle juice/sauce left in the wok and serve.

Braised Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou}
Braised Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou}

Braised Beef Shank Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook beef shank?

The active cooking only takes 20 minutes. You then wait about 1 hour for it to cool down.

How people serve the braised beef shank?

We wait for the freshly braised beef shank to cool down and then cut into thin slices before serving.

Do I need to marinate beef shank before braising?

Not required for this recipe.

What are the common ways of eating braised beef shank?

Braised beef shank is an all-time popular well-liked dish in China. People serve it as an appetizer, or as toppings to noodle soup. Either way, people eat them as a cold or room temperature dish. Because they are delicious at room temperature, braised beef is also popular travel food and/or snack item in China.

Do you like healthy & authentic Chinese food? Make sure you check out these delicious classic dishes:

Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou}

Braised Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou} Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

Braised Beef Shank Chinese style or Jiang Niu Rou {酱牛肉} in Chinese is a well-liked traditional food in China. It features a juicy and tasty beef shank cut into thin slices. They are popular appetizer items served at cold or room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb beef shank
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • 8 thin slices of ginger
  • 3 tbsp aged soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sweet bean paste
  • 2 tsp sugar in the raw
  • 1 tsp red yeast rice ground powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 star anises
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 stem of cilantro

Instructions

  1. Soak the beef shank in cold water for 15 minutes.
    beef shank soaked in cold water
  2. While waiting, cut green onions into small snippets, slice ginger into thin slices. Cut cilantro into bite sizes.
  3. Rinse the beef shank, cut vertically into halves
    beef shank cut into halves
  4. Turn the heat to medium-high, heat the wok for 2 minutes, add canola oil, add green onion and ginger, stir for 15 seconds or until fragrant, and add beef shank.
    sear the beef shank
  5. Sear for 1.5 minutes, and then flip and sear the other side for another 1.5 minutes.
  6. Add water, aged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, Zhenjiang vinegar, sweet bean paste, sugar in the raw, red yeast rice powder, freshly ground white pepper, star anises, bay leaves, and black cardamom into the wok, mix everything well, cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes.
    beef shank braised in the wok
  7. Remove the lid of the wok, turn the beef shank to cook the other side, cover the lid, and cook for another 10 minutes. The juice in the wok is reducing and slightly thickening.
    Braising Beef Shank Chinese Style
  8. Turn off the heat, flip beef shank and mix them with the juice in the wok. Let them rest in the remaining braising juice for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the beef shank from the wok and place onto a large plate, drizzle with juice left in the wok, let it cool to room temperature. About 1 hour.
    Cooling Freshly Braised Beef Shank
  10. Slice the beef shank across the grain, try to slice as thin as possible. The thinner, the more flavorful.
  11. To serve, use the juice left in the wok as a sauce, drizzle over the sliced beef shank, and garnish with the cilantro.
    Braised Beef Shank {Chinese Style Jiang Niu Rou}
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 445mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 32g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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