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Thai Beef stew

Thai Beef Stew เนื้อตุ๋น

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  • 700 g (1½ lb) beef "digital muscle" (see note) or other stew-friendly beef such as shank, round or chuck, cut into 1-inch thick pieces.
  • 2 generous pinches of salt
  • 5 cups unsalted, plain beef stock (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Golden Mountain sauce
  • 2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp black soy sauce (confused by all these sauces? See this video!)
  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar, palm sugar is okay too

Spices & Aromatics

  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 10 slices ginger
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • ½ tsp white peppercorns, cracked
  • Optional herbs and spices you can also add: lemongrass tops, white cardamom pods, dried goji berries, Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 onion, large dice
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, optional
  • 4-inch piece daikon, cut into 1-inch slices (I didn't use this in the video, but it's a nice addition if you have it)

For serving

  • Chopped cilantro and/or green onions
  • Optional condiments: Chili vinegar (any kinds of chilies soaked in 5% white vinegar for at least 15 minutes before using). Fried garlic is great on this too!

Kitchen Tools & Ingredients I Use


  1. Sprinkle salt over the beef on both sides.
  2. In a pot, add a little bit of oil to coat the bottom and heat over medium high heat. Add beef and sear without stirring until well-browned. Do not crowd the pan; you will have to do this in batches. Flip and sear the other side.
  3. Once you're done, pour off excess oil but leave the browned bits in the pot; however, if you've burned these bits and they've turned black, scrub them off before proceeding. Browned bits give a nice flavour, but burned bits do not!
  4. Return all beef to the pot, cover with beef stock and add soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce, oyster sauce, black soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.
  5. While the beef is coming to a simmer, make your spice bag: In a muslin "soup bag" or on a square piece of cheesecloth, place all the dry spices and herbs inside and close the bag, or if using cheesecloth tie the corners together. 
  6. If you notice any foam on top of the stew at this point, skim it off before adding the spice bag. Add the spice bag and push it in until it is submerged.
  7. Add onion, garlic, shiitake mushrooms and daikon (if using), then cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  8. After 3 hours, remove the spice bag then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt or sugar as needed.
  9. Top with chopped cilantro and/or green onions, and drizzle with a little chili vinegar if desired.
  10. Serve with rice or pour over noodles to make a delicious noodle soup!

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This cut of beef is officially called "super digital flexor muscle" which is part of the cow's hind legs. It has very distinct marbling of tendons all throughout the meat.

To make plain beef stock for this recipe, simply simmer 1½ lb of beef bones in about 8 cups of water for 3 hours, skimming off all the scum that floats to the top, adding more water as needed to keep the bones submerged. If you end up with less than 5 cups of stock, simply add more liquid to make up the shortfall. I highly recommend homemade beef stock so that you don't get extra flavourings and salt often added to commercial beef stock. But if you're gonna buy it, make sure it is UNSALTED!