Red-cooked or Hong Sao beef

  • for 4 people
  • Ready in 2¼ hours
  • Easy
This is a traditional slow-braised or ‘red-cooked’ dish. You can freeze the leftover sauce and use it as the base for noodle soups.

Nutritional info per serving

Per serving: 831kcals, 26.4g fat (10.2g saturated), 113.2g protein, 40.8g carbs, 37.3g sugar, 2.2g salt

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1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
12 star anise
4 large cinnamon sticks
4cm piece fresh ginger, sliced
200ml light soy sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 whole large dried chillies
150g rock sugar or soft brown sugar
2kg good organic stewing beef, cut into 6-8cm chunks
2 Lapsang Souchong tea bags
300g kai lan (Chinese broccoli from selected Sainsbury’s and oriental stores) or tenderstem broccoli


1. Bring 2 litres water to the boil in a pan. Add all the ingredients, except the tea bags and kai lan or broccoli. Cook, covered, on a low heat for 2 hours, checking occasionally.
2. About 20 minutes before the beef is ready, add the tea bags and continue to cook. About 8 minutes before serving, add the kai lan or broccoli and cook until tender.
3. Remove the tea bags from the broth. Spoon the meat and kai lan into bowls and pour over some of the sauce. Serve with the roast sweet potatoes and carrots, and extra steamed kai lan or broccoli.

  • Use a good cut of stewing beef, such as chuck steak, or pork. Freeze the leftover sauce and use it as the base for noodle soups.
  • Pick a top Californian Pinot Noir for a treat, or a Chilean Pinot for excellent value.

From February 2008

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