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Chinese Braised Beef Shank, Instant Pot/Stove (醬牛肉)

This classic Chinese braised beef shank dish has tender slices of meat with lots of flavor from the spiced stock! It is straightforward to make, especially if you make it in the Instant Pot.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Marinating Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 55 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Taiwanese
Keyword: chinese beef shank, chinese beef shank instant pot, chinese beef shank recipe, Chinese braised beef shank, jiang niu rou
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Blanching

  • 2 lbs beef shank
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine

Braise

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 green onions
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar packed
  • 2 inches ginger
  • 3.5 cups water
  • salt to taste

Spices (or substitute with a store-bought spice packet)

  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 tsp fennel
  • 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn

Instructions

Blanch the Beef Shank

  • Clean the excess fat off the beef shank and separate it into smaller pieces (the beef should somewhat naturally divide into roughly 1 lb portions). Note 1
  • Add 1 inch of ginger and 1 tbsp of rice wine to a large pot of water. Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Add in the beef shank, and let it boil for a few minutes. Drain and rinse the beef. (This step removes the impurities from the meat.)

Braise the Beef

  • Stovetop Method: Add some oil to a large pot and sauté the garlic, ginger, shallot, green onion, and spices over medium heat for a few minutes to release their fragrance.
  • Add the beef to the pot along with the remaining ingredients. The water should cover at least 80% of the beef shank. If not, add some more but not too much.
  • Bring the braise to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1 - 1.5 hours, rotating every 30 minutes or so until just tender. Note 2 (To check, poke a fork or chopstick into the center of the shank. You should feel a little bit of resistance.) **Do not cook the beef until it becomes fall-apart tender.
  • Turn off the heat and let the beef cool in the stock to room temperature.

  • Instant Pot Method: Add some oil into the Instant Pot and turn on Sauté mode. Add the garlic, ginger, shallot, and green onion. Sauté for a few minutes to release their fragrance.
  • Add the beef to the pot along with the remaining ingredients. The water should cover at least 80% of the beef shank. If not, add some more.
  • Close and seal the Instant Pot. Set to High Pressure for 35 minutes, and let it naturally release. Open the Instant Pot and let the beef cool in the stock to room temperature.

Chill and Serve

  • Once at room temperature, place everything in the fridge to chill completely (an overnight chill results in the best flavor). Note 3
  • Remove the chilled beef shank and slice thinly. Garnish with chopped cilantro, scallions, and/or sesame seeds. Note 4

Notes

  1. This step reduces the amount of water required to submerge the meat, making the stock (and thus the meat) more flavorful.
  2. (Stovetop only) Rotate the meat while simmering so that it is cooked and seasoned thoroughly.
  3. Chill the meat in the fridge before slicing so that it will hold its shape when cut thinly.
  4. Remove all the spices, strain the stock, and boil it briefly before refrigerating/ freezing for extended storage. You may need to add more water, salt, or spices as you continue to use the stock.