Five spice braised beef shank

I have fond memories of this braised Cantonese five spice beef shank.  This was usually served as an appetizer platter for many auspicious celebrations and especially as the first of twelve courses for weddings.  My mother-in-law used to make it occasionally as a special treat.  

This braised Cantonese five spice beef shank is thinly sliced and consumed in small quantities, like deli meat! It is especially good, wrapped in a Chinese scallion pancake with cilantro and my favorite, pickled cucumbers for crunch!

Tips for making braised Cantonese five spice beef shank.

Beef

For this recipe, a boneless, whole beef shank is the ideal cut. One that's not cut into sections.  Do not get the bone-in beef shank that's cut into "steaks" for several reasons:

  1. The meat easily falls apart during braising.
  2. The meat shrinks during braising, making it difficult to cut.
  3. You cannot slice the cooked meat against the grain which results in a tougher slice.
  4. The entire shank includes tendon and ligaments in the meat which adds to the texture of the cooked meat.
Boneless beef shank

Boneless beef shank

Browning the beef shank.

Eventhough the beef will be cooked in a sauce for a long time, the beef shank is browned before braising to release the flavor compounds of the proteins in the meat.  In kitchen science, this is called the Maillard reaction.  However, if you are pressed for time, you can omit this step because of the strong flavor of the soy sauce mixture.

Brown beef

Brown beef before adding soy sauce mixture.

Browning the beef before adding the sauce
Add soy sauce mixture

Adding the soy sauce mixture after browning the beef.

Saucepan or instant pot.

This braised Cantonese five spice beef shank can be made in either a saucepan or instant pot.   If the beef is not totally submerged under the soy sauce mixture when braising, turn the beef onto the other side half way through the cooking process. Braising the beef in a saucepan takes approximately four hours, depending the thickness of the meat. It will take forty minutes plus in an instant pot.

Slicing the beef.

When the beef has been cooled, after being refrigerated, slice the beef thinly against the grain of the muscle fibers to ensure tenderness.  Serve these braised Cantonese five spice beef shank slices as an appetizer plate, a side-dish or serve in a Chinese pancake as a braised beef roll.

Braised five spice beef shank with Chinese pancake

Braised five spice beef shank with Chinese pancake

Whichever way you serve this braised Cantonese five spice beef shank, it will be delicious. Let me know what you think in the comment section.

Five spice braised beef shank

CANTONESE FIVE SPICE BRAISED BEEF SHANK

Michelle Sam
Beef shank is braised in a soy sauce or from your leftover soy sauce chicken mixture . The meat is cooked until tender, cooled and sliced thinly. Serve as an appetizer or in a Chinese pancake.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 8
Calories 32 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1.5 kg large piece of bonelss beef shank
  • 4 cups chicken soy sauce mixture to cover meat from soy sauce chicken recipe
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil.
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine

Soy sauce mixture from scratch

Instructions
 

  • Wash beef shank
    1.5 kg large piece of bonelss beef shank
    Boneless beef shank

Brown beef

  • In saucepan or instant pot, heat with oil
    1 Tbsp cooking oil.
  • Cook all sides until browned.
    Browning the beef before adding the sauce

Combine soy sauce from soy sauce chicken recipe

  • Cover meat with sauce from soy sauce chicken recipe
    4 cups chicken soy sauce mixture
  • Add Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
    ¼ cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine

Make soy sauce mixture from scratch

  • Combine ingredients in saucepan or instant pot
    ¼ cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine, 2 cups LIGHT soy sauce, 2 cups water, 2 Tbsp DARK soy sauce, ¾ cup sugar, ½ Tbsp Chinese five spice powder, 2 star anise, 1 small cinnamon stick

Making beef shank in saucepan

  • If sauce does not cover entire piece of meat, braise for 2 hours on one side, flip shank and braise for 2 additional hours.
    Add soy sauce mixture

Making beef shank in instant pot

  • If sauce does not cover entire piece of meat, pressure cook for 20 minutes flip shank and pressure cook again for 20 minutes. Otherwise, pressure cook for a total of 40 minutes.

After cooking

  • Cool in the refrigerator to firm up the meat and slice thinly with a sharp knife.
    Five spice braised beef shank

Notes

Depending on the cut of your beef shank, the braising time may be longer or shorter.  The shank should not fall apart but remain intact like lunch meat.

Nutrition

Serving: 8gCalories: 32kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 252mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mgNet Carbohydrates: 1g
Keyword beef, braised beef shank, five spice beef
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was or if you have any questions or suggestions!
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