Snow Hiking at Muottas Muragl 2456m, Samedan-Engadin, St Moritz
Just came back from St Moritz and catching up with things and back to normal daylife. Every time when I have been away and back home, I will crave for my mom’s homemade dishes, today her braised beef brisket with red dates popped into my head. This is just one of the variations of the braised dish she prepared for us. Another traditional Chinese version (radish, carrot & pork stew) was one of my earliest posts which I used Pork instead of beef. My mom has never bought a single cookbook or written down her recipes whatsoever, she always teased me that I have to follow recipes. Although she does not have good memory on other things but she can just cook by heart. This version of braised beef brisket is actually inspired by the Korean braised beef ribs we ate from time to time in the restaurant. My dad used to insist me to help in the kitchen, I did not always enjoy it in the past but now I feel it all pays off. I could learn so much by just watching and helping her on bits and pieces in a casual way. The beauty of this braised beef brisket is that the sauce is not too dark where sometimes I prefer a clearer sauce and this taste a bit on the sweet side which most kids will love this and it tastes even better the next day.
- 500g beef brisket, cut into large pieces (e.g. 3cm x 3 cm)
- 2 small carrots
- 1-2 white radish (I used 2 radishes because I like more vegetables)
- 12 red dates or jujube (紅棗), deseed and cut into halves)
- 6 slices of ginger
- 2 shallots, keep in a whole piece)
- 3 cloves of garlic, keep as whole)
- 12 chestnuts (about 12 pieces, canned or fresh)
- 2-3 pieces chinese rock sugar (or 5-6 tbsp brown sugar), according to your personal taste
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 litre water
- Peel the white radish and carrots. Cut into chunky pieces in a zigzag way to give some irregularity to the dish and looks more natural.
- In a large pan, bring water to boil (water level should be able to cover the beef), put the beef brisket into the boiling water, let it boil for 3 minutes. You will see the scum floating on the water. At this time, discard the water and rinse the beef in tap water and drain the excess water. This step is important to ensure you get a clear sauce later.
- Heat up a large pan or a cast iron pot, add in some cooking oil, when it is hot enough, add in the ginger, scallots, garlic, stir with a wooden spatula for about 40 seconds and then add the beef brisket. Keep stirring for about a minute or so to sear the beef.
- Add in the radish and carrots, quickly mix and then add in the water (the water level should NOT cover the ingredients). Bring to boil.
- Add the red dates, rock sugar and mirin, let it boil, stir to mix and cook for 10 minutes. Then cover the lid and reduce to medium heat. Let this cook for 90 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it does not stick and no burning at the bottom.
- Add in the chestnuts and soy sauce at this time and let it cook for another 30 mins at least or longer the better for another hour before serving.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- In Korean restaurants, they like using beef ribs, I choose to use beef brisket as the ones in Switzerland are less fatty and the fat is all trimmed which make it convenient to prepare.
- One very important point highlighted by my mom is that the light soy sauce has to be added in the end, reason for this is to get a relatively clear and not so dark sauce.
- Red date is an important traditional medicine for both Chinese and Korean. It is believed red dates can alleviate stress and improve blood circulation.
- Rock Sugar is a famous product from Guangdong Province (South of China). It is processed from pure sugar cane using tradition method to give its clear and bright yellow color. It is used for dishes which you would like to have clearer liquid in contrast to chinese brown sugar.