Monday, 27 May 2013

Slow-Cooked Beef Flank with Mooli (牛腩炆蘿蔔)

This is my Dad's recipe, which is loved by all who taste it. You have to be bold with the flavours, and I think it will take me a couple of attempts to get it right. Mooli (or daikon) is a long white radish, which can be found in Asian grocery stores and larger supermarkets (or you could grow your own!).

Some of the ingredients will be hard to find outside of a Chinese supermarket - the rock sugar can be substituted with brown sugar, but I don't think you can replace the fermented red bean curd:

Red Fermented Beancurd (南乳)

Dad bought me a muslin pouch to hold the spices, which improves the texture of the final dish - once the spices have done their job, you can just remove the pouch from the stew. The end result is sticky and gelatinous, and goes well with rice or noodles.

I've made this dish in a slow-cooker, but it can also be made in a pan in an hour and a half - just make sure it doesn't cook too vigorously, or the beef will be tough.


  • 450g beef tendon, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1kg beef flank, cut into large pieces - 4 to 5cm
  • 1 mooli, roll-cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1-2 star anise
  • 3 cubes of red fermented beancurd (南乳) and a few spoonfuls of the sauce from the jar
  • 5-6 slices peeled fresh ginger, bashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and bashed with the flat of a cleaver
  • Small amount of rock sugar, approx. 1-2cm cube
  • Cornflour for thickening
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • (Optional) oyster sauce
  • Few drops of sesame oil
  • Chopped spring onion or coriander leaves to garnish
Serves 8-10


  • Heat the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, Sichuan peppercorns and star anise in a dry pan, moving around until aromatic. Allow to cool, place in the spice pouch and tie securely
  • Place the tendon and the beef flank into a large pan, cover with water and bring to a slow simmer, to allow the scum to rise to the surface. After around 5 minutes, drain the beef and rinse away any scum
  • Heat a couple of spoonfuls of oil in a wok or large pan, and add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until aromatic
  • Add the beef flank and tendon, and stir-fry until the mixture is coated in the oil and slightly browned. Add the fermented beancurd and 2-3 dessert spoons of cornflour and mix well
  • Transfer the mixture into a crockpot, add water to just below the surface and add the spice pouch and rock sugar. Set the crockpot to cook on low for 10 hours
  • After 3 hours, add the mooli to the crockpot and mix well
  • At the end of the cooking time, taste the sauce and add a few lugs of oyster sauce if it is not salty enough. If the sauce is not thick enough, add more cornflour/water mixture and bring back to the boil, stirring until thickened
  • Remove from the heat, add a few shakes of sesame oil and garnish with chopped spring onions or coriander leaves
Beef Flank Slow-Cooked with Mooli

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