Co­conut braised Asian beef cheeks

The Observer - - LIFE | TASTE - — The Whole Hearted Cook

SERVES: 5 In­gre­di­ents

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.

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