Cook up Erica Drum’s Hong Sao-style beef with sesame broccoli

This version of a traditional Chinese braised pork dish is a winner

Hong Sao-style beef. Picture: Ruth Calder-Potts

This is my version of a traditional Chinese braised pork dish called hong shao rou. It’s made with beef, and is a really warming stew-like dish.

If you want, you can substitute skinless pork belly for the beef and prepare the dish in the same way as below, just allow for about 30-50 minutes more time to simmer. I’ve served this stew with broccoli here, but it would work just as well with green beans or mushrooms.

Ingredients, serves four

800g sirloin or striploin steak, cut into chunks or thick strips

1-2 tbsp oil, peanut, coconut or rapeseed is perfect

2 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Small thumb ginger, minced

2 spring onions, finely chopped, separate green tops and white ends.

2 star anise

Half tsp Chinese five spice

4 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or Sherry

3 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

600ml-800ml water

400g cooked rice

Red chilli, sliced to garnish

For the broccoli

1 head of broccoli, cut up into equal size florets

2 tbsp sesame seeds, black or white

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Sea salt and pepper to taste


1. To make the beef stew, add one tablespoon of oil to a hot saucepan with a lid or casserole dish. Place half the beef into the hot oil and leave for three to four minutes to brown, then flip to sear the other side for a further three minutes before setting aside. Set aside and do the same with the remaining beef.

2. Once the beef has been set aside, do not clean the pan. Reduce to a medium heat, add the brown sugar and six tablespoons of water to the pot and scrape the bottom to de-glaze – this will also make a caramel liquid to add sticky sweetness to the dish. Stir then leave to bubble for two minutes, before stirring again to make sure all the granules have dissolved and the mixture is becoming sticky.

3. Next add the garlic, ginger, whites of the spring onions, star anise and Chinese five spice. Stir for two to three minutes over the hot heat, add a little water if it is sticking too much.

4. Return the beef to the pan and stir well, then add in the wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and enough water to cover the meat fully. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low and cover. Leave to simmer on a very low heat for an hour or until your beef is very tender.

5. Remove the lid and crank the heat back up to reduce this liquid down to a thick, sticky sauce.

6. While the sauce is reducing, prepare the broccoli. Steam over a high heat, this should take less than five minutes, do not let it go too soft. In a large dry pan over a medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, then remove the pan from the heat. Pour in the oil and toss the broccoli into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

7. Once the stewing liquid is reduced to a sticky sauce coating, turn off the heat. Scoop out the star anise before serving. To serve, divide the stew between bowls. Garnish with the green parts of the spring onions, then serve with steamed rice and broccoli.