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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

Generally speaking, beef is not a typical common everyday meat choice for traditional Chinese cooking, especially in the coastal area. 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. Chinese simple & tasty cooking essential condiments: aged soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, Zhenjiang vinegar.

Additional Chinese simple & tasty cooking condiments: fermented bean paste {Da Jiang 大酱} 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.

For cooking oil, I usually use avocado oil.

Sugar: I use either organic unrefined cane sugar or 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 braise with seasoning 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 the dry spices (star anises, bay leaves), and then stir for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Lay beef shank flat, cook for about 2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

sear the beef shank

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

Braising for 20 minutes

After searing the beef, add the braising sauce and the water 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 bring it to a boil and then turn the heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

beef shank braised in the wok

After 10 minutes’ simmering, turn the heat back to medium-high, 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 and then remove the beef shank immediately from the Wok. Let the beef shank cool to the room temperature on a clean plat 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

  • 2 lb beef shank
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil, such as avocado oil
  • 1 green onion stalk
  • a small piece of ginger, cut into thin slices
  • 4 star anises
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 stem of cilantro, for garnishing

For Braising Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp naturally aged soy sauce {Jiang You 酱油}, or dark soy sauce {Lao Chou 老抽}
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Sake
  • 2 tsp Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 2 tsp fermented bean paste {Da Jiang 大酱}
  • 2 tsp sugar, such as organic unrefined cane sugar or sugar in the raw
  • 1 tsp red yeast rice powder, freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper or white pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup of water

Instructions

  1. Soak the beef shank in cold water for 15 minutes. Add everything under "For Braising Sauce" to a small bowl, mix well and set aside.
    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 cast iron wok for 2 minutes. Add avocado oil, use a silicon spatula to spread evenly across the wok base, and then add green onion, ginger, star anises, bay leaves, and black cardamon. Stir fry for about 15 seconds or until fragrant, and then add beef shank.
    sear the beef shank
  5. Sear the beef for about 2 minutes, and then flip and sear the other side for another 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the braising sauce over the beef, flip the beef to ensure the sauce is evenly wrapping the beef. Then add 1 cup of water to the wok around the edge of the wok. Cover the wok with the lid and bring it to a boil and then turn the heat to simmer and let it cook for 10 minutes. By the way, if there is residual braising sauce in the small bowl, you can use the cup of water to rinse the bowl first before adding to the wok.
    beef shank braised in the wok
  7. Remove the lid of the wok, turn the heat back to medium-high, turn the beef shank and then cover the wok with the lid and cook for additional 10 minutes.
    Braising Beef Shank Chinese Style
  8. Turn off the heat, flip beef shank and mix them with the juice in the wok. Remove the beef from the wok and let them cool to room temperature.
    Cooling Freshly Braised Beef Shank
  9. Slice the beef shank across the grain, try to slice as thin as possible. The thinner, the more flavorful.
  10. 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 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 338Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 88mgSodium 628mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 40g

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

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