Braised Oxtails

To celebrate an event, this is one of my favorite dishes to whip up in my kitchen. Spices like star anise, bay leaf, and cloves lend a robust taste to this surprisingly simple recipe.

A single ingredient is a little out of the ordinary. What gives these Braised Oxtails their glazed appearance is the use of rock sugar. It comes in huge chunks or these brick-like blocks at Chinese grocery stores.

A tablespoon, which is approximately 1-inch square, is required to prepare. If you can’t find rock sugar, you can use regular sugar.

If you cannot locate oxtails, you can use short ribs in this dish, which would be delicious. This is a must-do experience.


  • 3 pounds of oxtails (about 1.35kg, cut into 2 to 3 inch thick pieces)
  • 1 tbsp. of oil
  • 2 half-inch thick slices of fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup of Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. of light soy sauce
  • 3-4 pcs. of star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 pcs. of bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. of rock sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Pat the oxtails dry after cleaning.
  2. Add oil to a big pot and sauté the meat until it’s browned on all sides. Then, add the ginger and garlic and simmer for about two minutes longer.
  3. Cooking wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, anise, cloves, bay leaves, rock sugar, water, and salt are all ready to go into the pot at this point. Add the water (careful with the salt, as the soy sauce is already quite salty).
  4. After heating to a boil, allow it to simmer for a few minutes. After 1 1/2 to 2 hours, the meat will be soft and most of the liquid will have evaporated, so continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Observe it as it simmers and, if necessary, add additional water to keep it from sticking. Serve.

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