It was Mid Autumn Festival [中秋节] yesterday. The harvest moon was high and bright in the sky, and I was craving a homely meal and some lotus paste mooncakes. I don’t live with my parents anymore– and since they are quite a distance away, I have to resort to my own kitchen to satisfy my cravings. Thankfully, I do enjoy cooking :). I figured I would cook one of my dad’s favorite dishes, mun ngao lam (braised beef brisket). I gave him a call after work and asked him in detail of the ingredients and steps to prepare this dish.
2.5 – 3 pound beef drop flank, cut into (1.5-2″ pieces)
1 tablespoon lard or neutral oil
4 slices ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons chu hou sauce (braising sauce)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon bai jiu (Chinese white liquor) or sake/soju
1 oz rock sugar or 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 star anise
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
3 cups water
1 pound daikon (Chinese radish)
Salt to taste
Yau choy or lettuce, blanched
Guilin hot sauce or any other Chinese hot sauce, optional
Thin egg noodles or Jasmine rice
Cut drop flank into 1.5 – 2″ pieces.
In your InstantPot or heavy-bottomed pot, add oil or lard, ginger and garlic, then turn the heat to medium-high. Sauté until fragrant.
Add chu hou sauce, hoisin sauce, and oyster sauce. Sauté until fragrant.
Add flank pieces and bai jiu. Give everything a good mix and cook until alcohol evaporates.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the daikon.
If you are using an InstantPot / pressure cooker, cook under high pressure for 40 minutes. Carefully release the steam when done.
Otherwise, cover with lid slightly ajar. Turn your heat down to low, and slowly simmer until the meat can be pierced easily with a fork, about 2.5 – 3 hours. You will need to add water throughout the cooking process to keep the meat submerged.
Once the meat is done braising, season with salt to your liking. Add the daikon. Since it only takes a few minutes to cook, we don’t want to add it too early.
InstantPot: Cook under the same pressure for 5 more minutes. Quick release when done.
Heavy-bottomed pot: Turn the heat to medium and cook the daikon for 10 minutes, or until done. They will be translucent.
Prepare the garnish, blanch the noodles and vegetable while the daikon is cooking. Ladle the beef, daikon, and sauce onto a freshly cooked pile of egg noodles. Top with scallion, vegetable, and optional hot sauce. Enjoy!
Low and Slow OR the Instant Pot?
If you’re looking for a reason to use that InstantPot that your Aunt Sandy gave you for Christmas (which may be sitting in your garage collecting dust), here is your chance. If you do not own a pressure cooker, you can just braise it low and slow for 2-3 hours.