500g (1 lb) beef short ribs, sliced into individual ribs or into pieces (depending on the cut of short rib)
500g (1 lb) chuck steak or gravy beef, cut into roughly 4cm cubes
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp extra
1 large onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4cm (1.6 inches) piece ginger, peeled, finely julienned
½ cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine*
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp Homemade Chinese Five-Spice (store-bought is also fine)
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
500g (1 lb) fresh thin Chinese egg noodles*
1 tbsp sesame oil
sliced cucumbers to serve
sliced spring onion (scallions), to serve
Homemade Chilli Oil, to serve (optional)
Pat the beef dry with paper towel and season each piece with salt. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and sear the beef in batches, ensuring you get a nice brown crust on all sides. Transfer beef to a plate and set aside.
Add the extra tablespoon of oil to the pan (if there is a lot of beef fat, no need to do this) and add the onions. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 3-4 minutes or until onions have softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds. Then deglaze the pan with the Shaoxing wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef and resting juices back into the pan. Then add the star anise, cinnamon stick, Chinese five-spice, soy sauces, tomato paste and brown sugar. Mix until well combined. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for 90 minutes or until the beef is fork tender.
In the meantime, cook the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and toss with sesame oil. Use tongs or chopsticks to keep tossing the noodles until they’ve cooled to room temperature. This will help to keep your noodles from sticking together. Divide among serving plates.
When the beef is fork tender, remove the star anise and cinnamon stick. Then transfer the beef pieces to a chopping board. Slice the meat and remove the bones.
Add the cornstarch mixture to the braising liquid in your saucepan and simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Use a spoon to ladle off any excess fat from the top of the sauce. Then add the sliced beef back into the sauce and mix until well combined. Remove from heat and serve over the noodles.
To serve, sprinkle with spring onion. Add sliced cucumber to each dish and drizzle with chilli oil if using.
– Shaoxing wine is a Chinese rice wine available from the Asian aisle of some supermarkets and also from Asian grocery stores. Substitute with beef stock if unavailable.
– Fresh Chinese thin egg noodles are also known as wonton noodles and can be found in the fridge section of any Asian grocery store.