Mom said “The secret to cooking beef was a slow fire and patience.” My mom taught me to get it right every time. I could not mess up cooking beef. It was an expensive commodity in our local market. Beef was only sold on Tuesdays and Saturdays in our small town. My mom’s menu revolved around those Tuesdays and Saturdays. Beef was reserved for special dishes when guests came to our home. Or if the town was having a fiesta, a plethora of meat dishes dominated the buffet table. A fiesta was a town celebration in honor of a patron saint in the Philippines. Meat dishes were served to honor guests with our famous Filipino hospitality. The more special the guests, the better the meat cut.
My mom cooked this Korean Beef Stew often. I am not Korean and neither were my parents. But somehow, this Asian-flavored stew found its way to our table and was always called ‘Korean Beef Stew’. The perfectly-tenderized beef stew made you think the one who cooked slaved all day. Well, the truth was, it was the stove that did all the work.
Mom taught me how to cook a good stew to its most tender point. It had to be so tender the tendrils fell off the fork if you pierced the succulent cube. In our old home, mom cooked beef outdoors on fire that was kindled by wood. This was an economical way to cook back then. Gas and electricity were expensive to soften meat for long periods of cooking. Nowadays we have kitchen gadgets to help us cook a good stew. We also have better cuts of meat that we can cook with.
But back to this Korean Beef Stew. It was always a favorite recipe because the stew cooked in a generous amount of broth, flavored with ginger and onions. The broth thickened as the cooking continued. By the time the dish was served, the tender beef stew could be poured over mounds of boiled rice, the thick steam of fragrant Asian flavors soaring high above the table.
When I was newly-married, I was heartbroken my mom was no longer with us. She died a year before our wedding, of a long, lingering illness. As a young bride, I missed having a mother to call, to ask for a recipe or seek advice on homemaking. But over the years, as I kept cooking and feeding my family home cooked meals, I realized I was never without mom. She was always with me even after she was gone. Mom was with me in every recipe, every dish I served, and every ingredient I sliced. I learned everything I knew in the kitchen from mom. Her lessons never left me. I carry them in my heart and in my palate always.
This Korean Beef Stew has Asian flavors of ginger, onions and sesame oil simmering so delightfully that you'll enjoy the aromas from miles away. It is the kind of make-ahead meal you can cook on a weekend and enjoy all week. The beef cubes and all the ingredients are cooked in the broth to tenderize. The ginger-onion flavors season the robust beef cubes and when poured on rice, seep through the rice grains for a savory-sweet entrée. This is an AsianInAmericamag recipe from a previous blog post. The procedure below gives you two ways to cook this stew: on the stove or in the oven. Serves 4.
- vegetable oil - 4 Tablespoons, if cooking stove-top
- garlic - 6 cloves, peeled and minced
- red onions - 2 medium pieces, sliced
- scallions or green onions - 1/2 cup chopped, use white parts only
- fresh ginger - 1 piece about 1-inch, peeled and in thin slices
- beef chuck - 3 to 4 pounds, cut in 3-inch cubes
- Tamari soy sauce (low sodium) - 3/4 cup (from Asian markets or use regular soy sauce if preferred)
- xiao xing rice wine - 1/4 cup (from Asian markets)
- organic beef broth - 4 cups
- sesame oil - 1/8 teaspoon
- sea salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- freshly ground black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
- orange juice - 1/4 cup
- brown sugar - 1/4 cup
- green onions - 1/4 cup, green parts, for garnish (optional)
- sesame seeds - 1 Tablespoon, roasted, for garnish (optional)
- boiled rice (white or brown) - for serving
- 1) How to cook Korean Beef Stew on the stove: using a large, deep stock pot, turn the heat to a medium high. Add vegetable oil. After oil is hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, add the garlic, red and white onions, fresh ginger. Once onions are translucent in 1 to 2 minutes, add the beef cubes. Brown the beef on all sides for about 5 to 6 minutes.
- To the same stock pot, add the rest of the ingredients: soy sauce, rice wine, broth, sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 3 hours till meat is tender. Add the orange juice and brown sugar at the last fifteen minutes of cooking. Garnish with scallions and roasted sesame seeds. Serve with boiled rice.
- Or Alternative 2) How to cook Korean Beef Stew in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large, deep roasting pan or Dutch oven, combine all of the following : garlic, onions, ginger, scallions, beef cubes, soy sauce, rice wine, broth, sesame oil, salt and black pepper. Make sure the liquid covers the meat. Cover the entire pan with foil (or with a Dutch Oven, cover with the lid). Bake the beef stew, covered for about 3 hours, or till meat cubes are tender.
- After 3 hours, remove some of the liquid and in a bowl, add the orange juice and brown sugar. Pour back into the pan. Return the beef back in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes more. When done, garnish and serve.
- Cook's comments: In past recipes, my mother used regular soy sauce. For this version, I use tamari low sodium soy sauce, which is gluten-free (no wheat) and is less salty. Tamari sauce can be purchased at Asian markets, large supermarkets, or online sources of Asian sauces.
- Shop For It: the bottled ingredients like Tamari soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and the rice grains can be purchased online from Amazon. For my readers' convenience, I have a "Shop For It" tab on this blog which is my Amazon affiliate page. You don't have to leave the blog. The link is right here to buy what you need. Retail prices are the same for you. I earn a small commission which goes to the recipes and ingredients of the blog. Thanks for your support. Click here for my Amazon affiliate page.
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