Some of you may already know what five-spice is, but some of you may not. So here’s the 101 for those who don’t know this fragrant spice. Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices. The most common combination is star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds. It is most often used in Chinese or Indian cuisine and sometimes used in other Asian or Arabic cuisines. As a health tip, five-spice can help to improve body immunity. However pregnant women should not eat too much and avoid it in early pregnancy.
So what is Lotus Root, you may ask… Lotus root is a rhizome of the lotus plant. It is full of dietary fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. In Chinese, they often refer to lotus root as a “cooling” (凉) food, which is an item that can restore balance to the body. The texture is crunchy, with an almost water-chestnut like texture, and it is delicately flavored. It is usually prepared by first peeling away the tougher exterior with a vegetable peeler, to expose an almost transparent white flesh. It can then be diced, chopped or cut into any way you desire.
So now I introduce to you Five Spice Braised Beef with Lotus Root. This is a nostalgic household dish for me. I grew up eating this. The fragrant five-spice would permeate throughout the house as it was simmering away. I loved the scent! I remember that I would always sneak into the kitchen when my mother was away from the stove, and fish a piece of beef out of the pot before it was ready. The beef itself was cooked, but the meat would still be a bit tough, cause the meat wasn’t done braising. I’d even go as far as adding more sauces and sprinkling more five spice into the pot when my mother was not looking. So now I introduce this dish to the readers. This dish can be made with Beef Brisket, Beef Shank, or even Beef Short Ribs, I used Beef Flank, because that was what I had on hand, but feel free to substitute. Enjoy!
Five Spice Braised Beef with Lotus Root
1 lb Beef Flank with the layer of tough membrane, cut into 1″ cubes 1 lb Lotus Root, peeled and sliced 2 Teaspoon Grapeseed Oil 2 Cups Water 1 Teaspoon Salt, or to taste 2 Green Onions 1 Clove Garlic 1 Cinnamon Stick 1 Star Anise 1 Dried Chili 1 Bay Leaf 15 Grams Ginger, sliced
Beef Marinade 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce 5 Teaspoons Oyster Sauce 1 Tablespoon Wine sauce 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch 1/4 Teaspoon White Pepper 1 1/2 Tablespoon Five Spice
Boil the meat in boiling water for 5 minutes. After the short boil, discard the water and rinse off the meat under running water.
In a large bowl mix the parboiled meat together with the marinade ingredients and let it marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight (for better flavour).
In a large pot, add the grapeseed oil on medium-high heat.
Add the green onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, star anise, chili, bay leaf, and ginger. Stir for about a minute.
Add the marinaded meat stir and cook until browned.
Add the water to the pot. Stir and make sure you drag the wooden spoon on the bottom of the pot to remove the caramelized goodness on the bottom.
Bring it to a simmer. Place lotus root on top of the meat as a layer. Cover and cook for 75 minutes on low heat.
After 75 minutes of simmering, season with salt to taste. Discard the cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, and ginger.