Cantonese Style Braised Beef Stew 炆牛腩
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It’s been a long and really cold in New York City this year and to cope the cold weather I have been visiting some of my favorite dishes such as the chicken meatball soup, and a host of my favorite stew dishes.
While many readers consider the Sichuan Spicy beef stew recipe one of best recipes I have shared to date, I have to say that this Cantonese version beef stew dish that I am sharing today posts as a strong contender to that top spot.
And if you ever get to cook both of them, I’d like to hear which one you like better.
Compared to Sichuan style beef stew, the Cantonese style braised beef is non-spicy, sweet, with unique deep flavors developed from the use of star anise, dried orange peels, Chu Hou / Chee Hou sauce (more about this below).
This classic Cantonese braised beef stew is served from almost all traditional restaurants around the world. It’s served with rice or as a noodle soup topping.
Speaking of tradition, the Lunar Chinese New Year is just around the corner. While there is still some confusion whether the New Year should be called the Year of Sheep, or Goat, or Ram on Feb 19th, it matters very little to the billions of people who are going to celebrate this most important traditional Chinese festivals.
If you plan to cook and need cooking ideas for the New Year celebration, feel free to check out my free cookbook where I share 14 of my personal favorite Chinese New Year dishes.
If you are already an email subscriber to my blog and miss the download link, look for an ebook download link under my email signature.
Getting back to today’s recipe. One of the key condiments for this dish is Chu Hou / Chee Hou sauce 柱侯酱, a soybean based sauce commonly use in Cantonese cooking.
It tastes and looks somewhat like hoisin sauce but more garlicky. It comes in glass jars under different brands and it can be found in most local Chinese supermarkets. If you can’t get a hold of it, you can substitute with hoisin sauce with additional garlic.
Traditionally, this dish calls for beef brisket which is relatively tough cut really flavorful when prepared properly. If you have access to Chinese grocery store, look for the brisket with a layer of membrane (sinew) attached to the meat.
The membrane is a little tougher then the meat but adds even more flavor to the dish.
The best way to serve this mouth-watering dish is to serve it in a clay pot with rice on the side.
Another popular way to serve it is to add the stew to noodle soup similar to the spicy beef noodle soup I shared sometime ago.
If you figure out a better/creative way of serving the dish, do share it in the comment area.
Happy the Year of Sheep/Goat/Ram everyone!!
Cantonese Style Braised Beef Stew 炆牛腩
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 150
Total Time: 165
Make this mouth-watering Cantonese Style Braised Beef Stew following this step-by-step recipe at yireservation.com.
- 2lb beef brisket, cut into 1”x2” pieces
- 1lb daikon radish (optional)
- 3 clove garlic, sliced
- 3 slice ginger, 1 inch long each
- 1.5tbsp chu hou sauce
- 1tbsp oyster sauce
- 1tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1tbsp rock sugar
- 2tbsp cooking wine
- 1tbsp soy sauce to taste
- 1/2tbsp dark soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- Scallion and cilantro for garnish
- 2 star anise
- 1 dried orange peel, broken into pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- Blanch beef brisket in a large pot of boiling water. About 8 minutes. Take the beef out and rinse under cold water. Drain the excess water and set aside
- Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a wok or Dutch oven. Cook sliced garlic and ginger on low heat until aromatic. About 30 seconds
- Add chu hou sauce, rock sugar, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce and stir fry on low heat for 1 minute
- Put in the blanched beef, star anise, orange peel, and bay leaf, cooking wine
- Cook under medium heat until the beef is slightly brown. About 3 minutes
- Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer with lid on for 2 – 2.5 hours until tender. Turn the beef with a spatula every now and then. Add soy sauce and salt to taste
- (Optional) Add daikon radish cubes and mix with the beef. Bring the stew to boil and simmer with lip on until the radish is soft. About 30 minutes. Sprinkle some scallions and cilantro and serve with white rice
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I lived in Taiwan for a couple of years, and this is one of the foods I miss the most! You could find braised beef in a lot of places. I have tried other recipes for making this beef, but I haven’t been able to find the best one yet. However, after trying this one, I have to say it’s the closest to the ones I used to eat in Taiwan. Thank you for the recipe!
This is the best recipe I’ve found for this dish. Purely authentic and delicious. I know beef brisket is the best/traditional cut to use, but I’m very lazy/tired to cut through the sinew these days. What other beef cut would you recommend as the best substitute for brisket? Thanks a bunch!
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Can I cook this dish in a cast iron Dutch Oven inside an oven? What temperature should I set the oven to and what would be the estimated cooking time?
hi there, so sorry for the very delayed response. Yes dutch oven works perfectly. I’d use 350f/277 for about 2 – 2.5hr or so. Please check around 2hr mark to gauge the tenderness. Thanks.
I made this yesterday with a bit of added pickled chili. My wife’s comment: “I could eat this every day!” which is high praise. Thanks for the excellent recipe.
Thanks Tom. Glad to hear you and your family enjoyed this dish.
Thanks for the recipe.
Prosím odpovede k receptu na cuketovú polievku zaslať na mail. ďakujem
Hi Sichman, I am not sure which Korean soup you are referring to. Could you be more specific?
pracujem v korejskej spoločnosti a občas chodím do kantíny, kde dávajú korejske jedlá. Milujem korejsku kuchyňu a chcem vás poprosiť o zaslanie receptu na cuketovú polievku – je chuťovo úžasná. Recept na túto polievku nemôžem nikde nájsť. Ďakujem.
Do you put the soy sauce and salt after the braising period or do you put it in before braising?
hi Dennis, I like to add soy and salt after braising because most of the time the salt from bean sauces adds almost enough saltiness.
I plan on make a big batch of this to share. If I double the meat and diakon portions, Would I have to double all the ingredients as well or just the water? Would doubling all the spices be overpowering? Any tips on the setting and length of time if I wanted to use a slow cooker?
This dish brings back fond memories as a child, I can’t wait to try it!!
Hi Winston, i’d use about 1.5x of the water and spice for double amount of meat and daikon. I don’t own a slow cooker but I’d probably cook for at least 3 hours (daikon will only be added towards the end). Hope this helps.
You have one dried orange peel but I have 1/4” cut orange peel I purchased. How much do you think one orange peel would be? 1/2 cup?
Hi Betty, for 2lb of beef I’d use the amount equivalent to the size of your thumb. You don’t need whole a lot of orange peel for this recipe. Hope this helps. -Yi
You are awesome!!!! Your recipes are authentic and very good! Your instructions are perfect. You are perfect!
Do you have any recommendations on how to turn this into a soup?
hi Jason, sorry for the late reply. You can turn this into a thicker tough of soup by adding 50% more water and around 20% more for the rest of the ingredients. Please make sure you add the salt to your own taste. Hope this helps you get started.
In China, there is another style of this dish, by adding ox bone soup, fish sauce, spice, and chicken powder rather than those deep colour sauces, the final product will have clear soup and taste very delicious.
Thanks Tao. Do you know which region that style of stew is from?
Can I substitute fresh orange peel to dried orange peel? TIA!
hello Toni, sorry for not getting back to you late. I’ve never tried with fresh orange peel but I believe the bitterness of the fresh peel makes it less desirable. I’d say just skip the dry orange peel if you don’t have it. Thanks.
I have made this recipe a dozen times. This time I skipped the parboiling stage. I used a large brisket which I cut up myself, i.e. not pre-sliced from the store.
I researched the issue of Parboiling, and simply cannot see any reason why it should be done.
Please explain your reasoning for Parboiling.
And THANKS for a great web site!
hello Raphael, the purpose of parboiling the beef is to remove as much as blood as possible. Some people might find the blood taste not pleasant. If the blood taste doesn’t bother you, you can definitely skip the step. Just make sure if you give the beef a good rinse before cooking. Hope this answers your question.
I can’t wait to make this. Would it work in a slow cooker?
yes it works a slow cooker 🙂 Please let me know how it comes out!
Beef stew simmering gently as I write. I did not have Chu hou sauce but added more garlic and homemade hoisin sauce. Full of expectations and it certainly smells delicious already. Thanks for the recipe. Happy new year!!!!!!
Happy new year Anne! Hope the beef stew game out awesome!
Can this be cooked using a claypot? Instead of daikon can carrots be used?
hi Vienne, yes you can use a clypot and carrots will also work beautifully with the beef. Hope this helps.
Thank you for your prompt response and also for sharing the recipe.
Hi, what sort of cooking wine do use for this recipie?
The traditional recipe calls for chinese Shaoxing wine (rice wine). A dry sherry will work as well. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for the reply, i really appreciate it!
Thank you for sharing the recipe. Can u tell me what is chu hou sauce?
sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Chu hou sauce is a type of bean paste. Here is a sample brand you can find in Asian stores.
this is really good thanks for the recipe
This looks kick-arse! I have loved this for years. My favorite HK restaurant closed 5 years ago and all others I have tried have been pretty ordinary, just spent up large on ingredients and have it simmering as we speak! Ill let you know how I go.
Hello Roger, thanks for checking out the recipe. Please let me know how the stew came out!
I made this last night and we all thought it tasted authentic and was very good! I’ll be trying out your other recipes! Will you post a recipe for Mei Cai Kou Rou (梅菜扣肉)??
Hi Kit, I do have a recipe included in my free cookbook. Please follow the instructions here to get your copy. Thanks.
Excellent recipe and excellent job putting it all together.
I followed it to the letter except adding a bit of red bean curd (as others suggested) and a bit of Vietnamese 5-spice at the end (based on my final taste test).
It turned out far better than I expected. Perfect balance in all regards. I’d say it’s even better than more than half of what I’ve had in better restaurants. I’m so glad this was the first hit on Google. You made me feel like I can actually cook!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Hi Wai, thanks for your kind feedback and I am glad that the dish came out excellent and you were able to tweak a bit to your own liking. The fermented bean curd definitely adds another dimension to this dish. Thanks again for taking the time to comment!
Thank You so much for sharing this recipe. When I was googling a beef brisket Chinese style recipe there were too much to choose from! I am glad I found this page as the step-by-step instructions are pretty much “idiot proof” LoL
When I made it the first time my whole family was impressed…says it tastes just like how the restaurant makes it. I’ve made it 3 times already with 4lbs x 2 and 6lbs of beef brisket. Cooked beautifully each time! I must confess though, I did tweaked the recipe a bit. For the sauces I did 1 1/2 x recipe (we love the sauce when reduced until a bit thick…tastes delious on rice/noodles!!!). For the 2nd and 3rd time I added red fermented bean curd (1x recipe use 1-2 tbsp, depends how strong of taste you like)….tastes – so.darn.good!
But…I must admit it takes a long time to cook! But so worth it. I like it tender melt in your mouth (4-5hrs). Thanks again!
Hi Lil, thanks for taking the time to write the feedback. I am so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed this recipe and you were able to tweak it a bit to make it more delicious! Hope you get to try some of the other recipes on this site as well. Yi
can I substitute beef with pork ribs?
hi Samntha, yes you can be it’ll taste a bit different as that beef tastes different from pork. However the dish will still come out delicious though. Hope this helps.
Hi. I wanted to make this tonight. What is “spice”? It is written in your list of ingredients (just above star anise).
Sorry for the confusion. the spices are the star anise, bay leaves and orange peel. There was a formatting issue in my ingredient list but that’s been corrected. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!
This recipe is absolutely wonderful and exactly what we were looking for! Our favorite family-style Cantonese restaurant closed due to the pandemic and this was the dish we missed the most.
Making the dish for a second time. I’ve used a different cut of beef and fried tofu, which soaks up all of the wonderful sauce!
Thanks so much for this recipe!
You are very welcome! Glad that you liked the recipe!
This turned out really well! I added tripe and will add some tendon text time. Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks for the kind words and I am so glad to hear that the dish came out good. Yes the addition of tendon will make it even more flavorful!
Like all homey dishes, I guess everyone’s preference is based on the version they ate as a kid. I used yours as a base to replicate my family’s recipe, and then I add tendon, tripe, cinnamon bark, black cardamom, licorice root, and stew for 3+ hours. Thanks to this recipe for getting me started!
Hi Lauren, thanks for checking out the recipe and I am so happy that you are able to re-create your childhood flavor!
There’s an awesome Chinese restaurant where I live that serves this dish. My family loves it. I decided I wanted to make it. I found this recipe and was surprised how easy it was. While it was cooking my family said that it smelled exactly like the restaurant’s. After eating it, they said it tastes like theirs too. I gave myself a big oat on the back. Your recipe will be in heavy rotation this fall and winter. I look forward to trying more recipes from this site.
Hi CeeCee, thanks for checking out my recipe site and I am so happy to hear the beef stew came out good. I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of other recipes on this blog 🙂
I love love this dish – have made it several times now – always increasing the flavours! Thank you! Have you on favourites now.
Thanks Rhondda for the feedback and I am so glad that you love the dish. Hope you get to try some other recipes from this site.
I don’t currently have cooking wine at home. Would it be fair to use mirin to substitute for the cooking wine and rock sugar? If not, which cooking wine would you recommend I buy?
Leave it out and just use normal sugar. Raw is better but white sugar is ok.
Hi, you can use mirin in place for cooking wine although it’s not exactly the same. Like Marcus said you can use regular sugar as well. Thanks for checking out the recipe.
We love to make this into a soup base for hot pot. Great when you have a lot of guests. Great recipe!
Hi Lee, thank you for checking out my recipe and really glad to hear you also enjoy hot pot 🙂
Any substitute for chu hou paste or ground bean sauce that I can use?
hi there, you can use hoisin sauce in place of chu hou sauce and ground bean sauce. They are not the same but hoisin sauce is the closest substitute. Hope this helps.
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#3 you say add ground bean sauce…is that the same as chu hou paste listed in the ingredients??
Hi Jan, yes it’s chi hour paste. Updated to avoid confusion. Thanks for bringing to my attention.
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Have you made this in a pressure cooker? I want to make this, but would love to cut the cooking time. Thanks!
hi Sheryl, yes you can use a pressure cooker. If you plan to add radish, I’d use pressure cooker for 30 minutes first then another 10 minutes after adding radish. If not, I’d guess 40 mins is more than enough. Hope this helps.
Hi, I want to try the recipe with the daikon. Do I add it in after the 2-2.5 hours and cook for another 30 minutes or do I add it in 30 minutes before the beef should be done? Does it matter? Thanks!
hello Cindy, thanks for checking out my recipe. You’d add the daikon radish 30 minutes before the beef is done. So that’s bascially 1.5-2 hours into cooking (depending on the type of beef used). Hope this helps.
Is chiu chow the same as chu hou?
Hi Paul, yes they are the same, just different spellings under different brands. Hope this helps.
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Thanks for posting this recipe. Shared it with my friends who like to cook Canto food. Your recipe is close to my mom’s and grandma’s (both are native HKers) recipe, but they also add in 南乳.
Have you tried that yet?
Keep on posting!
Made an error in the image link before. Supposed to be this one for 南乳: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-AlEIUF2yy4/TACxNkS676I/AAAAAAAAAkw/nzolZmsyAhk/s1600/P1030677.JPG
Hi There, thank you for stopping by. I actually used red fermented bean curb before and really loved it. I don’t normally keep a jar of it around unless I make the famous pig feet w red fermented bean curb dish but I probably should start adding to the beef strew from now on. Thanks again for bringing it up and I hope to see you around!
Hi, I’m from the Netherlands and love Chinese cooking. I have a Chinese supermarket nearby, so I’m lucky to be able to get all ingredients I need. I love your recipe, but I want to add some red bean curd. At what stage do I have to add it and how much do you recommend?
Many thanks, Ingrid
Hi Ingrid, sorry for not getting back to you sooner. If you wanted to add some read bean curd (which is an excellent addition for this dish), you’ll add it in step 3 when other bean paste/oyster sauce are added. Hope this helps.
On the ingredients list I see rock sugar, but I don’t see it anywhere on the directions. When do you put it in?
Thanks for catching it. Can’t believe it was left out. I just added to step 3. Thanks again.
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thanks for your sharing many recipes!
you are very welcome.
The daikon must be tasting so sweet, absorbing the essence of this Cantonese braised beef.
余先生，hope I make write name corrects,
I love your recipe, I cook it for our church cpgathering today.
I m sure they would love it.
Hi there, thanks for visiting and I am glad to hear that you enjoy my recipes!
Hi Yi, About a year ago, I tried your char siu recipe here in Swaziland. It was excellent! Looking at the beef stew recipe, I can taste my dad’s stew too. I think he usually included some beef tendon for good measure! This weekend, we are roasting a whole pig for a belated Chinese New Year celebration. We’re using a technique with cement blocks and a grate over the top, a la “Three Guys from Miami” and their cuban Christmas roast. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a marinade? The Cuban guys use a citrus, heavy garlic marinade, but we’re trying to go for a more Asian feel. What do you think?
I’ve had this dish in restaurants and love it. Now I know how to make it at home, thanks!
The beef is good but my favorite part have always been the daikon.
Happy Chinese New Year!
新年快乐!! Wishing you and your family a very safe and happy CNY! Love the addition of Diakon radish in your stew. Perfect as it is cool and damp today in HK, you know the usual CNY weather.
Happy new year to you too BAM!
A szechuan friend taught me a similar recipe with pork shoulder as the meat and some heat supplied by szechuan peppercorns and dried chillies. As we can’t get the radish away from main cities she used potato. It’s always been one of my favourites and I add extra ingredients just for a change eg dried shitake mushroom works well as it absorbs flavours.
I always love this Cantonese braised beef. This looks so flavourful and delicious.
This looks terrific! I make red-braised beef stew often, but have never tried the Cantonese one. Gotta try it — this has tons of flavor. Thanks!
I’m going to use beef cheek meat. It has a lot of flavor and collagen! Yum!! Thanks!