This is a hearty, flavorful Asian Beef Stew, also known as Chinese Braised Beef Stew with Daikon. I spent many nights in my younger years at Cantonese cafés in the San Gabriel Valley devouring this exact dish. Now I make it at home in my trusty Instant Pot.
Of all the items I ever order at Cantonese/Hong Kong style cafés, Chinese Braised Beef Stew and Daikon (Asian Beef Stew) is almost always on top of my list. Fork tender chunks of flavorful beef braised in a savory, spiced sauce complemented with the sweetness of the daikon. Luckily, with the help of an Instant Pot, I can save myself the 2 hour drive to get my fix at home.
Which Cut of Beef is Used in Asian Beef Stew?
When choosing a cut of beef to use for this Chinese Beef Stew recipe, I look for a tough cut that will withstand a long braise. I also look for something that is fatty, which gives flavor, and something with connective tissue, which provides great texture. My go-to cuts for Asian Beef Stew are rough flank, untrimmed brisket or chuck. They all contain a lot of fat and connective tissue which give this braise the flavor and texture we're looking for. Most of the fat will be skimmed off after braising so we don't need to worry about it being too fatty.
Rough flank: Rough flank (shown below) is my first choice but it can be hard to find. I've only seen this cut at some Asian grocery stores, usually the ones that specialize in Vietnamese food. It's a cut that is often used in Vietnamese Pho. Whenever I see it, I make sure to grab a piece for Asian Beef Stew. It has a lot of connective tissue and intense beefy flavor which makes it ideal when braised. My favorite part about rough flank is the layer of thin, sinewy membrane that adds another lovely texture.
Brisket: When using brisket, most supermarkets will trim it assuming it will go in a smoker but that also means it has minimal fat and connective tissue. Ask the butcher for untrimmed brisket. The pieces are generally bigger, but it contains a lot more of what we want - fatty chunks for the flavor and connective tissue for the texture.
Chuck: Chuck is a good cut for Chinese Beef Stew as well. It has a robust beefy flavor and is the most accessible option on this list. You can find chuck in just about every grocery store. When using chuck, find a piece with the most fat and marbling you can find.
Ingredients for Chinese Braised Beef Stew and Daikon
Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients used for this Chinese Style Braised Beef recipe. There are quite a few ingredients, most of which are staples, except for the Chee Hou Sauce.
Chee Hou sauce is a sweet fermented soybean paste and is often used in Cantonese cuisine, particularly in braised dishes. If you don't have Chee Hou sauce, substitute it with ground bean sauce. Keep in mind that Chee Hou sauce is a lot sweeter than ground bean sauce so if you do substitute it, double the amount of sugar in the recipe.
How to Make Asian Beef Stew (Step-by-Step Photos)
This recipe was almost designed with an Instant Pot in mind. Everything from browning the beef, braising the stew and daikon can be done completely in the Instant Pot. Your cook time will vary depending on which cut of beef you use and the size you cut your beef. This recipe's cook time is based on a 2 pound rough flank cut into 3"- 4" pieces.
1) Use the Sauté function and brown the beef on all sides in a bit of oil, then set aside. Do this in batches.
2) Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, and star anise. Stir and sauté until the garlic begins to lightly brown (about 30-60 seconds).
3) Add the scallions to the pot. Stir in with the aromatics and cook until the green parts become wilted (about 20-30 seconds).
4) Deglaze the pot by pouring in the Shaoxing wine and mix well. Be sure to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot (about 10-15 seconds).
5) Add the Chee Hou sauce, oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, and sugar. Stir until well incorporated (about 20 seconds).
6) Return the browned beef to the pot and toss until the beef is well coated in sauce.
7) Add water and ensure it doesn't exceed the max line. The beef should be mostly submerged. Cook on high pressure for 1.25 hours and quick release.
8) Add the daikon and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick release when the time is up. Skim off the fat/oil from the surface.
Prepare the cornstarch slurry by stirring together cornstarch and water. Use the Sauté function and bring the stew to a boil. Gently stir in about half of the slurry and allow it to come back to a boil. Repeat with another tablespoon of cornstarch slurry until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
NOTE: Cook time will vary depending on the cut of beef you use.
Rough Flank: ~1.25 hours
Brisket: ~1 hour
Chuck: ~40 minutes
- 2 lb rough flank, brisket or chuck, cut into 3"- 4" pieces
- 1 lb daikon (white radish/turnip), peeled and cut into large chunks
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 6-10 slices of ginger
- 2 shallots
- 5 star anise
- 5 stalks of scallions
- 2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 3 cups water
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoon water
- Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function. Once it comes to temperature, add a bit of oil, just enough to coat the bottom.
- Carefully add half of the beef in a single layer and sear on all sides. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot. Remove the browned beef and repeat with the remaining half. Set aside.
- In the same pot, add garlic, ginger, shallots, scallions and star anise. Stir continuously and sauté until the aromatics begin to change color.
- Deglaze the pot by adding Shaoxing wine. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to release the browned bits.
- Add in all the SAUCE ingredients (Chee Hou sauce, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and sugar). Mix well for about 15-20 seconds.
- Return the browned beef to the pot. Toss well until the beef is fully coated in sauce.
- Add water and be sure it doesn't exceed the max line. Cook on high pressure for about 1.25 hours, until the beef and connective tissue are soft and tender. Quick release when the time is up. (For other cuts of beef, refer to the chart above for cook times.)
- Add the daikon and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and quick release.
- Use a ladle or fat skimmer and remove the extra fat/oil floating on the surface.
- Stir together the ingredients for the cornstarch slurry. With the lid removed, set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function and bring the stew to a boil. Carefully stir in half of the cornstarch slurry and allow it to return to a boil. Repeat with another tablespoon of cornstarch slurry until you reach your desired consistency.