Chinese food is delicious when you go out, but making it at home really makes it special. Despite what you may think, most Chinese recipes are pretty simple. It is the combination of seasonings that make those complex flavors you enjoy so much at the restaurant. Once you try making some Chinese recipes at home, you will see how easy it is to make a delicious, healthy meal from this cuisine. When you have mastered one recipe, it will be easy to move on to the next, and before you know it, you will be making entire meals with multiple courses.
Our Chinese beef stew gets its flavor from soy sauce, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and star anise. Do not bother with those little packets of seasoning that you can get ready made in the sauce aisle at the grocery store. Combining the seasonings yourself gets the right balance in the dish, and you are not filled with preservatives and MSG. A little bottle of dried star anise is not very expensive, and it keeps practically forever in the cupboard. You can say the same for cinnamon sticks. The ginger adds just a little tang and heat to the mixture.
Serve the stew over a dish of rice to finish off the dish. Rice is a traditional part of almost every meal in China. It soaks up the flavors of the dish and adds a filling component to the meal. The stew has a wonderful flavor that really stands out against the rice. You can use Chinese parsley as a bright garnish if you wish. A little sliced red pepper offers a nice splash of color, too, if you like things spicy. Do not be surprised when your family requests that you make this again. While this recipe does take some time to cook, most Chinese dishes are very quick. Most of the time is spent on prep work.
Chinese Beef Stew
3-½ pounds beef stew meat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup Chardonnay
2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons white sugar
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch piece ginger
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups water
Trim off as much fat from the beef as possible. Heat up the oil on high and brown the beef on all sides.
Add the Chardonnay, the soy sauce, the brown and white sugars, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Cook this combination on high until the liquid has evaporated, leaving the beef evenly coated.
Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat; let it simmer on low until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.