Coconut braised Asian beef cheeks
1–2 tbsp coconut oil
5 beef cheeks, trimmed
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
5cm piece ginger or galangal, peeled, roughly chopped
1250ml coconut water
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
8 kaffir lime leaves
1 bunch coriander roots and stalk only, washed
1 tsp black peppercorns
5 star anise
1 tbsp tamarind puree
1⁄4 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Take a large stockpot and place over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of coconut oil, when hot add three of the beef cheeks, or more, but be careful not to overcrowd the pot as it will make caramelising the beef cheeks difficult.
When beef cheeks are golden on one side, turn over and caramelise the other side. When golden, remove cheeks from pot and set aside. Repeat process with remaining beef cheeks, adding a little more coconut oil if needed.
Turn down heat to low, add a teaspoon of coconut oil if needed, then add ginger and garlic, cook for two minutes stirring occasionally until fragrant and softened. Add the coconut water to deglaze the pan, scraping the base of pan with a spatula ensuring all the flavour from the caramelised beef is added to the stock.
Turn heat to medium-high and add in lemongrass, 6 kaffir lime leaves, coriander root, black peppercorns, star anise, tamarind, coconut sugar and fish sauce and bring stock to simmering point. Add beef cheeks back to the pan. Bring to a simmer, turn down heat to low and allow beef cheeks to cook for 2.5 hours, until softened and meat almost falling apart. If required, top up the stock with a little more coconut or plain water if it seems like it’s reducing too quickly.
After 2.5 hours turn off heat and strain stock from beef cheeks reserving the liquid. Pick off any remaining spices or ingredients from beef cheeks that might be stuck. Pop the stock and cheeks back into a pot, then add in mushrooms and green beans and allow to simmer on low for a further 15–20 minutes or so until the vegetables are softened.