Slow Cooker Black Vinegar Beef Ox Tail Stew (燉黑米醋牛尾, Dan6 Hak1 Mai5 Cou3 Ngau4 Mei5)Black vinegar not only adds flavor to this dish, but also a rich dark color. The dish is not sour with a dominant vinegar flavor as you might think, in fact the black vinegar adds depth to the sauce’s flavor. While I’m not convinced, the Chinese think that the vinegar cuts down on the richness of the beef ox tail stew. Chee Hou sauce is an important ingredient to making this dish. Chee Hou sauce is a prepared sauce and is similar in taste to hoisin sauce (which can be substituted if you can’t find it at your local Asian market) and has a slightly spicier taste to it. Beef oxtails are readily available at most markets. Removing the outer fat layer from the oxtails is an important step to producing an almost fat free sauce. Use a sharp knife to remove the outer fat layer before cooking.
3 lb. 1.5 kg. Beef oxtails (牛尾, ngau4 mei5) ½ in. 15 mm. Knob of ginger (薑, goeng1), lightly crushed 2 2 Whole garlic cloves (蒜, syun3), lightly crushed 4 Tbs. 60 ml. Shaoxing rice wine (紹興酒, siu6 hing1 zau2) or dry sherry
Water to parboil the beef oxtails
2 Tbs. 30 ml. Koon Chun Sauce Factory Brand Chee Hou Sauce (柱候酱, cyu5 hau6 zoeng3) or equivalent 2 Tbs. 30 ml. Shaoxing rice wine (紹興酒, siu6 hing1 zau2) or dry sherry 1 lb. 500 g. Carrots (紅蘿蔔, hung4 lo4 baak6), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces on the diagonal 1 lb. 500 g. Daikon (白蘿蔔, baak6 lo4 baak6), halved and cut into ½-inch (15 mm) pieces 12 12 Dried whole Shiitake mushrooms (冬菇, dung1 gu1), rehydrated 5 oz. 150 g. One package tofu skin knots (百頁結, baak3 jip6 git3)
Oil for cooking
2 cloves 2 cloves Garlic (蒜, syun3), lightly crushed 2 slices 2 slices Ginger (薑, goeng1), lightly crushed 1 1 Dried tangerine peel (陳皮, can4 pei4) 4 whole 4 whole Star anise (八角, baat3 gok3) 1 stick 1 stick Cassia bark (桂皮, gwai3 pei4) or cinnamon
3 Tbs. 45 ml. Tapioca starch (木薯澱粉, muk6 syu4 din6 fan2) 3 Tbs. 45 ml. Black vinegar (黑米醋, hak1 mai5 cou3) 2 Tbs. 30 ml. Soy sauce (豉油, si6 jau4) ½ cup 125 ml. Shaoxing rice wine (紹興酒, siu6 hing1 zau2) or dry sherry
Shiitake mushroom rehydration liquid, water, or stock to cover the ingredients in the slow cooker
8 qt. 7.5 L. Pot to parboil the beef oxtails 14 in. 35.5 cm. Wok or pan 3.5 in. 9 cm. Soak-out cooker to hold the spices in the slow cooker 6.5 qt. 6 L. Slow cooker (crock pot) to cook the stew
Preparation InstructionsKoon Chun Sauce Factory Brand
Chee Hou Sauce (柱候酱, cyu5 hau6 zoeng3)Wash and remove any excess fat from the beef oxtails. Place the beef oxtails, crushed ginger and garlic, and Shaoxing wine or dry sherry into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil over high heat covered, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, uncover, and discard the liquid, garlic, and ginger from the pot. Wash the beef oxtails under cold water, removing any remaining scum from the beef. Dry the beef oxtails in a paper towel. Parboiling the beef will result in a clear sauce.The step above can be done one day before cooking the dish. Store the beef oxtails in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight. Take the beef out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking.Pour boiling water over the small dried whole Shiitake mushrooms in a heat proof bowl and rehydrate the mushrooms for at least one hour. Remove the Shiitake mushrooms from the rehydration liquid and remove the stems. Reserve the rehydration liquid for later use in the cooking process. If you need to rehydrate the Shiitake mushrooms quickly, use the method described here: Technique: How to Quickly Rehydrate Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (冬菇, Dung1 Gu1).Open the package of tofu skin knots. Tofu skin knots are also called bean curd knots, bean curd stick knots, and soy sheet knots. If using fresh tofu skin knots, drain any liquid from the package. If using dried tofu skin knots, pour boiling water over the tofu in a heat proof bowl and rehydrate the tofu for at least one hour. Remove the tofu skin knots from the rehydration liquid and discard the rehydration liquid. If you need to rehydrate the tofu skin knots quickly, use the method to quickly rehydrate Shiitake mushrooms (described in the previous step).Wash and cut the carrots into 1-inch (2.5 cm.) quarter-cut pieces. Cut the carrots on the diagonal and turn the carrot a quarter-turn. Repeat the diagonal cut and quarter-turn steps until the entire carrot is cut into pieces.Wash and cut the daikon into ½-inch (15 mm) pieces. If the daikon has a large circumference, cut the daikon in half before cutting into pieces to make the daikon easier to eat in the finished stew.Prepare the sauce in a small bowl: thoroughly mix together the tapioca starch, black vinegar, soy sauce, and Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry. Put the contents into the slow cooker.Put the spices into the soak-out cooker: crushed garlic and ginger, tangerine peel, star anise, and cassia bark or cinnamon stick. Place the soak-out cooker into the bottom of the slow cooker.
Cooking InstructionsHeat a wok or pan over high heat before adding oil and then the beef oxtails in small batches. Brown the beef oxtails before adding Koon Chun Sauce Factory Brand Chee Hou Sauce, or equivalent, and when the beef is browned, deglaze the wok with Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry. Put the browned beef, and any remaining liquid, into the slow cooker. Repeat this step until all the beef oxtails are browned and placed into the slow cooker.Reheat the wok or pan over high heat before adding oil and then the Shiitake mushrooms. Stir fry the mushrooms and then add the contents of the wok to the slow cooker.Reheat the wok or pan over high heat before adding oil and then the tofu skin knots. Stir fry the tofu skin knots and then add the contents of the wok to the slow cooker.Reheat the wok or pan over high heat before adding oil and then the carrots. Stir fry the carrots until browned and add Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry to deglaze the wok. Add the contents of the wok to the slow cooker.Reheat the wok or pan over high heat before adding oil and then the daikon. Stir fry the daikon root until browned and add Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry to deglaze the wok. Add the contents of the wok to the slow cooker.Put the sauce into the slow cooker and then add the Shiitake mushroom rehydration liquid, water, or stock until the beef ingredients are covered. Shake the slow cooker container to mix the liquid with the tapioca starch slurry.Cover the slow cooker and cook the contents on the low setting for up to 8 hours. At the end of the cooking time, remove and discard the contents of the soak-out cooker, remove any excess fat from the top of the stew, and then transfer the contents to a serving bowl. Serve with Clay Pot Rice (煲仔飯, Bou1 Zai2Faan6), steamed rice, or noodles.