Red Cooked Beef with Daikon

This recipe is adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty. Any braising beef is suitable for this dish. For a weeknight dinner use a chuck roast, when company’s coming, spoil your guests with short ribs. This can be part of a large Sichuan dinner or go New England-fusion, and serve it over mashed potatoes!

Serves 4 to 8, depending on how many other dishes you are serving alongside.

2-inch piece ginger

2 scallions, white and green parts

3 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 tablespoons Sichuan chili bean paste

2-3 pounds braising beef (chuck roast, tri-tip, top round), cut into 3 or 4 pieces, OR 5 pounds beef short ribs

1 quart beef or chicken broth (if you use store-bought broth, low-sodium chicken is the better choice—most “store-bought” beef broth is too tinny and salty)

4 tablespoons dry sherry or shaoxing cooking wine

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns, toasted

1 whole star anise

1 black cardamom pod (also called cao guo - pictured, right)

1½ pounds daikon radish (turnips or radishes can be substituted)

Fresh cilantro to garnish


Cut the ginger into thick slices and smash them with the side of your knife, or the bottom of a pan. Cut off the root end of the scallions and cut each scallions into two or three pieces. Smash the garlic cloves.

Heat the oil in a heavy dutch oven or soup pot, and add chili bean paste and fry until fragrant–about thirty seconds. Add the ginger, scallions and garlic and cook another thirty seconds. Add the beef, broth, wine, soy sauce, peppercorns, star anise, and cardamom. Bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer until the beef is fork tender–about two to three hours.

While the beef is cooking trim and peel the turnips. Cut them into thick bite-sized chunks. Add to the beef, and cook until the vegetables are just tender.

Garnish with whole cilantro leaves.

Note: You can make this in a slow-cooker in which case you should reduce the amount of broth to two cups. It will take about 6-7 hours on the low setting.