Make Ahead

Red Roasted Asian Beef Stew

February  5, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is my version of a beef stew that is very common in Chinese households. The name is my attempt at a literal translation of the Chinese style of braising meats with soy sauce, wine, and sugar. I included some traditional ingredients (star anise and rock sugar) and some that are definitely not (lime). Using some bone also gives a rich flavor, but is optional. The sauce works well with noodles or rice for a comforting dinner. The stew is also typically used to make a beef noodle soup that is perfect to warm you up from the cold. —monkeymom

Test Kitchen Notes

I loved this dish. It was everything I thought it would be: rich, complex and comforting. Monkeymom's timing worked perfectly, too -- the beef was fork-tender after 2 hours in the oven. Her suggestion of cooking the vegetables separately was spot on; I cooked enough vegetables for only 2 servings, and am now able to freeze the rest of the stew, without the vegetables, for a rich beef noodle soup per Monkeymom's suggestions in a few months. —Tarragon

What You'll Need
  • 4 pounds beef chuck cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 English short rib (1/2-1 lb) (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sweet rice wine, sake, or sherry
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or an equivalent amount of rock sugar (adjust seasoning to taste)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 slice ginger root
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 red chili peppers, fresh or dried (again, suit to taste)
  • 3 whole dried shiitake mushrooms or fresh ones cut into quarters
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large daikon, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Working in batches brown beef all over, removing each piece when done. Add oil as needed.
  2. Add all meat back to pot. Add wine and vinegar and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add soy sauce and sugar then the stock. Add star anise, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, and mushrooms and bring to a boil. Return beef to pot and add lime zest. Add water to cover meat. Cover, transfer to oven.
  3. Check pot after 1 hour. Turn over pieces of short rib and stir meat. Cover again and cook 1 hour more, or until meat is tender.
  4. Move pot to stove top. Simmer on medium heat with lid off to reduce liquid. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. To eliminate fat: Depending on your cut of meat, the stew can be very greasy. You can spoon off the fat or poor cooled sauce into a fat separator to remove fat. Alternatively, place pot in refrigerator overnight. Scrape off fat the next day.
  6. Before serving, reheat the stew and cook without the cover to reduce the sauce a little. At the same time, boil vegetables in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. The vegetables are boiled separately to make sure they do not overcook and retain their color. In addition, raw daikon tends to have a very strong flavor that I don’t like in the stew. The boiled daikon is mild.
  7. Add boiled vegetables to stew. Serve with fresh hot rice or noodles. Also try it with a sprinkling of chopped green onion and a squeeze of lime.
  8. Leftovers make a delicious noodle soup. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles. When the noodles are almost done, throw in a large handful of fresh spinach. Cooked until wilted, then drain noodles and spinach. Toss with enough sesame oil to coat noodles (1/4-1/2 tsp). Add meat and meat sauce. Pour hot water or chicken stock to cover the noodles and stir. Add soy sauce, meat sauce, chopped green onion, and/or lime to taste. This noodle soup is awesome with a big helping of chili sauce.
  9. Slurp.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Midge
  • pauljoseph
  • Sugartoast
  • AntoniaJames
  • monkeymom

Recipe by: monkeymom

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I'm finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I'm really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

17 Reviews

GreenGoddess January 31, 2021
This is a great stew, I cooked this in the slow cooker for 9 hours and it turned out great. The next time I make this though I think I will add some miso to give the broth more body.
elizab November 19, 2019
This is a really good stew, and easy, too. I like spicy, so I probably would just add more star anise and more red peppers. I served with rice, but I would also try rice noodles if I had some on hand.
ben B. February 12, 2017
one comment; in step 2, it starts with, "Add all meat back to pot." and then deglaze, followed, at the end of step 2 to "return beef to pot." seems like that first one is an error?
Jenn K. December 5, 2016
This was great - I transferred to the slow cooker instead of the oven and cooked for 6 hours on low. I used water instead of stock (because I thought I had stock in the freezer but didn't) and still found it quite flavourful.
hookmountaingrowers October 20, 2015
Monkey mom - it's all in the oven at the moment but wondered if you had more authentic ingredients would you subsitute Chinese black vinegar for the rice vinegar and do kefir lime leaves instead of the zest?
Betsy January 26, 2014
I made this last night and it was sooooo good. I served it over gluten free Tinkyada noodles (big macaroni shape). Talk about comfort food! This is my new favorite beef stew recipe. Thanks!
Lisa November 10, 2013
Do you use a whole star anise, broken or powdered?
monkeymom November 13, 2013
I use whole as I can pluck them out later. But broken or powdered would also work.
Midge September 1, 2012
I am so making this. Sounds awesome.
dahliat October 31, 2010
I just made this tonight (subbed beef stock for chicken and forgot the soy sauce) and it was delicious - thanks for the great recipe!
monkeymom November 1, 2010
So glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know!
pauljoseph August 11, 2010
simple recipe excelent
Sugartoast February 5, 2010
This looks amazing. Can't wait to try it!

AntoniaJames February 5, 2010
By the way, what kind of sweet rice wine do you use? That's not something I've ever bought before! It sounds necessary though for tenderizing the meat in this dish. Do you use the same amount with chicken? Sometimes the acidity levels of various agents used in the braising process need to be adjusted for more tender meats . . . . I really like this recipe, and can see it becoming a useful base recipe with a lot of variations! And any chicken soup with Asian flavors is sure to be a winner around here. ;o)
monkeymom February 5, 2010
We've tried so many different types of 'wine' by necessity. I grew up where there were few asian markets so that is how we found that sherry can work well. We more recently found the 'glutinous rice wine' here in the bay area that is sweet, light, and low alcohol. I've found that sake is pretty close. Overall, you are totally right that you can vary the amount of wine, soy sauce, and sugar depending on the meat you are cooking and also to suit your own palate. If you do the chicken, use bone-in thighs. Lots of meat and the bone also makes the sauce richer. I'll take a picture of the wine I used and post it later for you to see. You are in the Bay it okay for me to tell you where to buy it on the site?
AntoniaJames February 5, 2010
Wonderful recipe! Love Step 9. ;o) (Also appreciate the tip on turning this into soup. Not sure we'd ever have any leftovers, though . . . . it looks so tasty!)
monkeymom February 5, 2010
Thanks Antonia! We do a variation of this recipe with chicken as well, which cooks much faster (~30 minutes) so you can also have some delicious chicken noodle soup too!