Braised Beef Shank With Chinese Spices

June 7, 2022


We’ve featured this Braised Beef Shank in the past, but today we’ve updated the recipe and included a lot more tips and tactics to help you get the most out of your time and work!

At home, we serve this braised beef shank cold, sliced thinly, with vegetables and rice, in noodle soups, or even for breakfast with warm toasty you tiao (scallion pancakes) or other breakfast foods (all have good times on those days).

On the other hand, as discussed in our previous essay, this is a classic appetizer at Chinese banquets. It’s a terrific technique to prepare a beef dish ahead of time; it’s especially ideal for Chinese cuisine, where meat is used as an accent rather than the main course.


  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • ½ tbsp. of Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 piece of dried tangerine peel
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. of white or black peppercorns
  • 3 dried liquorice slices 
  • 1 whole nutmeg 
  • 1 tbsp. of fennel seeds (optional)
  • 2½ pounds of beef shank 
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • ¼ cup of Shaoxing wine
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 scallions (cut into large pieces)
  • 15g of rock sugar (can substitute with regular granulated sugar)
  • ¼ cup of light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
  • About 4 cups of water (or optionally, chicken, beef, or pork stock, enough to cover the beef)
  • Salt (to taste, we used about 1 teaspoon)


  1. Put the spices in two tea bags or a cheesecloth bag and tie them up tightly. This will serve as your spice packet. This is a mixture of cinnamon, cardamom pod, Sichuan peppercorn, star anise, star anise pods, and dried tangerine peel and bay leaves.
  2. You’ll then need to chop the beef shank into two to three equal parts, each around 5 to 6 inches long. Pour enough water into a medium pot to cover the beef shank and ginger, and bring it to a boil. Bring it to a boil and keep an eye on it until you notice a thin film of a grey color forming on top of the water. Put a colander over a sink and remove the saucepan from the heat. Make sure the steak is thoroughly cleaned, as well as the pot.
  3. Adding the spice pouch, Shaoxing wine, garlic, and scallions (I forgot to add this when I prepared it, but that doesn’t mean you have to!), rock sugar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and 4 cups of water or stock is all that is needed to bring the beef back to a simmer (it must be enough to cover the meat). Salt can also be added to your liking.
  4. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 60 to 90 minutes, until fork-tender, then remove from the heat.
  5. Beef should not be overcooked so that it retains its texture. Remove the beef from the heat and allow it to cool completely in a closed container before slicing.
  6. Alternatively, you can return the beef to the braising liquid when it has cooled thoroughly and let it rest in the sauce the night before serving.
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