Chinese Braised Beef Shank
(Lu Niu Rou | 卤牛肉)

Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: Chinese Braised Beef Shank (Lu Niu Rou, 卤牛肉)

Braised Beef Shank is a dish that features in many cuisines, perhaps because braising really is the best way to cook this tough cut of meat. The shank (or shin, as it's called in the UK) of the cow is a lean and sinewy cut, as a result of the frequent muscle usage. Braising, the process of cooking slowly in liquid over low heat, breaks down the tough fibres and transforms the meat into a wonderfully tender and delicious meal.

Chinese Braised Beef Shank (卤牛肉 or Lǔ niúròu)is a simple dish cooked in broth, flavoured with a few spices and seasonings. You could make it as complex and elaborate as you like, or keep it extremely simple with just the bare minimum of ingredients. The recipe below is a fairly basic recipe using a pre-prepared Chinese five spice powder mix. If you are able to get a hold of the individual spices, you may prefer to assemble your own mix, which would allow you to vary the proportions of each spice in, and even add spices to, the mix.

The first time you make Chinese Braised Beef Shank, you'll either use water or beef stock. The dish then starts to come into its own with every subsequent preparation, as the excess stock is reserved each time for future use. When new beef is cooked in reserved stock, the flavours develop further, leaving you with a complex and unique broth. (Note, you should only use up to half the amount of spices, if cooking with reserved stock.) You'll soon understand why it would be a 'crime' to discard this stock! I always like to make up a batch of Soy Marinated Egg (Lu Dan | 卤蛋) with the excess stock, as it's freshly made and available for use.

Chinese Braised Beef Shank can be served as a starter, a main or a snack for any time of day. Typically, we serve this dish simply with some chilli dipping sauce, rice and stir fried greens on the side. You could also serve this atop noodles in some beef broth. Any leftovers, I always keep - this is an ideal dish to cook in large batches and store in the fridge for hungry children after school!

Here's what you'll need to make this Braised Beef Shank:
(Click here to jump straight to the recipe)

1.5kg whole beef shank, cut into 3 or 4 smaller pieces
1.5L beef stock (or water)
20ml dark soy sauce [1]
20ml light soy sauce [1]
30g fresh ginger root, sliced
4 spring onions, trimmed
2 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice powder [1]
80ml Shaoxing wine [1]
20g sugar [1]

If you're assembling your own spice bouquet, you'll need (about 20g in aggregate) [1]:
7g Chinese cinnamon bark
4 star anises
4 cloves
3 large bay leaves (or 4 smaller ones)
1/2 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
2 (green) cardamom pods

And here's what you'll need to do:

  • Assemble, prepare and measure out your ingredients.
  • If you're assembling your own spice bouquet, gather the various bits, and place them either in a spice infuser, or tie together securely in a piece of cheese or muslin cloth.
  • Trim the beef shank, and cut into smaller pieces.
  • Place in a large lidded pot, cover with water, and boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Skim the scum from the surface, and remove the shanks to a plate whilst you drain and wash the pot. Be careful, as the water will be hot!
  • Return the shanks to the pot, and add the the soy sauce, ginger, spring onions, spice powder (or spice bouquet), wine, sugar and water.
  • If using reserved stock, add this to the pot now, and top up with water. The shanks should be mostly covered by the liquid.
  • Bring to the boil, cover, lower heat and simmer at a gentle roll for about 90 minutes.
  • Cool slightly before removing from the pot to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, discard the spices, ginger and spring onion. If you're also making Soy Marinated Egg (Lu Dan | 卤蛋), remove the amount of stock required for marinating.
  • Reduce the remaining stock in preparation for storing by boiling it rapidly for 20 minutes uncovered.
  • When completely cooled, transfer to a tightly sealed container before storing in the freezer.
  • When completely cooled, slice the beef thinly and serve.
  • I prefer to chill it overnight in the fridge before slicing, as it's much easier when cold. If you try to slice the beef before it has cooled completely, it will likely crumble and fall apart.
Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: Chinese Braised Beef Shank (Lu Niu Rou, 卤牛肉)
  • Serve the braised beef shank with a bit of stock drizzled over, or with a simple chilli dipping sauce.
Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: Chinese Braised Beef Shank (Lu Niu Rou, 卤牛肉)
  • Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge, perfect for a quick lunch or snack at any time of day.
Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: Chinese Braised Beef Shank (Lu Niu Rou, 卤牛肉)

Notes

  1. If you are making this for a subsequent time and using reserved stock, you will only need at most half of these ingredients, as the stock will already be flavoured.

Chinese Braised Beef Shank
(Lu Niu Rou | 卤牛肉)

By

Easy Beef Dinner Recipes: Chinese Braised Beef Shank (Lu Niu Rou, 卤牛肉)

This Chinese Braised Beef Shank works wonderfully in meals and is also perfect for snacking on at any time of day.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes minutes
Serves: 8
Course: Starter, Main, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Tags: Braised Beef, Chinese Five Spice

Ingredients

1.5kg whole beef shank, cut into 3 or 4 smaller pieces
1.5L beef stock (or water)
20ml dark soy sauce [1]
20ml light soy sauce [1]
30g fresh ginger root, sliced [1]
4 spring onions, trimmed
2 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice powder
80ml Shaoxing wine [1]
20g sugar [1]

Spice Bouquet Ingredients (20g, optional) [1]

7g Chinese cinnamon bark
4 star anises
4 cloves
3 large bay leaves (or 4 smaller ones)
1/2 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 Tbasp cumin seeds
2 (green) cardamom pods

Method

  1. Assemble, prepare and measure out your ingredients.
  2. If using your own spice bouquet, gather the various bits, and place them either in a spice infuser, or tie together securely in a piece of cheese or muslin cloth.
  3. Trim the beef shank, and cut into smaller pieces. Place in a large lidded pot, cover with water, and boil for about 2 minutes.
  4. Skim the scum from the surface, and remove the shanks to a plate whilst you drain and wash the pot. Be careful, as the water will be hot!
  5. Return the shanks to the pot, and add the the soy sauce, ginger, spring onions, spice powder (or spice bouquet), wine, sugar and water. Add any reserved stock, if using, and top up with water - the shanks should be mostly covered by the liquid.
  6. Bring to the boil, cover, lower heat and simmer at a gentle roll for about 90 minutes. Cool slightly before removing from the pot to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, discard the spices, ginger and spring onion. If you're also making Soy Marinated Egg (Lu Dan | 卤蛋), remove the amount of stock required for marinating.
  8. Reduce the stock in preparation for storing by boiling rapidly for 20 minutes uncovered. Cool completely before transferring to a tightly sealed container for freezing.
  9. Slice the beef thinly before serving, or chill it overnight in the fridge before slicing, as it's much easier when cold. It is likely to crumble and fall apart if you try to slice it before it's completely cooled.
  10. Serve the braised beef shank with a bit of stock drizzled over, or with a simple chilli dipping sauce.
  11. Keep leftovers for a quick lunch or snack at any time of day.

Notes

  1. If you are making this for a subsequent time and using reserved stock, you will only need at most half of these ingredients, as the stock will already be flavoured.

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