Curried beef brisket recipe – made the Hong Kong way


Beef brisket noodles is a famous dish in Hong Kong. It is something that tourists (back when we had tourists) would seek out, and locals argue about which place makes the best version, and which cuts of beef they prefer, because these shops sell more than just brisket.

In addition to beef in a light broth, they also offer curried beef or tendon, which makes for a nice change.

For braised dishes, I normally use brisket, but the quality of the dish depends on which part of the brisket you get. The thick, fatty, layered part of the brisket is tender when it’s cooked low-and-slow, but if you use the flat, lean part, the meat becomes hard and dry. So lately, I’ve been using beef cheek, which gives more consistent results.

If I’m not in a rush, I cook the ingredients in a clay pot placed over a low flame – it usually takes about five hours, if you’re using tendon. If I need the dish to be ready in about one-third (or less) of that time, I use a pressure cooker – either a stovetop version (which is more powerful) or an electric model (an Instant Pot or something similar), which takes a little longer.

How much tendon you use is up to you: the beef and tendon together should weigh 1kg (35 oz). I like to use 500 grams (18 oz) of each, but most people prefer more beef. It would be a mistake to leave the tendon out altogether, though, because it gives the sauce a lovely, sticky quality.

I like Koon Yick Wah Kee curry powder, which is made in Hong Kong, but you can use another brand.

This curry doesn’t keep as well as other braised dishes, because of the Chinese radish: if you keep it for more than a few days, the bitterness from the vegetable becomes unpleasantly strong.

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