This is a favourite recipe in our house and has never disappointing guests. It is rich and tasty with lots of shitake mushrooms and Chinese red dates.
Chinese red dates are not related to common dates so if you cannot get hold of them then leave them out. You can get them in most Asian grocers and they come dried, fresh and candied and may also be known as jujubes.
This dish is best made with a stewing cut of meat that has lots of connective tissue so that the meat is succulent and unctuous. I used shin beef this time and it was amazing.
These are the dried Chinese red dates and you can see they are nothing like common dates. They do have small seeds but they are not too hard (a bit like peppercorns but not as big) and I generally let people know to expect them so they do not get a fright.
The recipe uses Chili Bean sauce and I have included a picture so that you know what you are looking for. It is a really tasty sauce and will add a hint of chilli and lots of flavour to any dish. Some supermarkets sell it and Asian Grocers.
Traditionally the recipe uses yellow rock sugar but any sugar will do.
Braised Beef with Red Dates
2 Tbs Oil
1 kg Stewing Beef
4 Cloves of Garlic
4 Tbs Grated Ginger
2 Tbs Chilli Bean Sauce
2 Diced Tomatoes
3 Tbs Shaoxing Wine
2 Tbs Yellow Rock Sugar (or other sugar)
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Oyster Sauce
500 ml Beef stock or water
16 Chinese Red Dates
1 Packet of sliced dried shitake mushrooms
Crush your garlic, grate your ginger, dice your tomatoes and measure all the other ingredients into a bowl.
Heat a heavy based pan to a medium high heat and dice your beef into large chunks. Once the pan is hot add the oil and brown the meat in batches and set to the side. Return all the meat to the pan once browned and then all of the other ingredients. Bring to the boil then reduce to a low simmer and cook at a low simmer for 2 - 3 hours or until the meat is melting and tender. When finished the dish is ready the sauce will be reduced and thick.
Serve with rice and steamed Asian greens.