Chinese Oxtail Delight

Authentic Chinese Oxtail Delight: A Braised Journey

The Oxtail’s Enchanting Flavor Tale

Chinese oxtail delight is a captivating dish, isn’t it? Amidst the vast digital repository of oxtail recipes, this particular Chinese rendition stands out with its distinctive allure. Noted for their robust nature, oxtails often require an extended braise to genuinely reveal their rich flavor profile.

Diverging from the common, wet stew persona, this Chinese rendition celebrates oxtails in a reduced sauce, ensuring each bite is glazed in rich flavor. As the soy sauce and spices meld, the oxtails transform into this sticky delight that pairs harmoniously with rice. With their rising popularity, oxtails have, unfortunately, become pricier, but every bite reminds you why they’re worth it. They aren’t an everyday dish in my home, but for festive moments? Absolutely!

Cooking Your Oxtail: Chewy or Melty?

A nuanced oxtail is all about texture. I champion an oxtail that retains a subtle chew post-cooking, asserting its meaty identity. This, in my belief, intensifies its flavor. However, for those who dream of spoon-tender oxtails that disintegrate on the palate, extended cooking is your friend. Depending on your preference, adjust the cooking time: either keep it to 2 1/2 hours for a bite or stretch it to 3 1/2 hours for that melt-in-mouth goodness. Always remember to have some extra water on standby!

Ingredient Ensemble

  • 3 pounds oxtails (sliced into robust 2-3 inch pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 fresh ginger slices, half-inch thickness
  • 6 garlic cloves, whole
  • 3-4 star anise pieces
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ cup Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rock sugar (or regular sugar in a pinch)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • A pinch of salt (but wield with care given the soy sauce)

Embarking on the Braised Adventure

  1. Begin by giving your oxtails a good wash and pat dry. In a sizable skillet over medium-high flame, sear them to a golden hue.
  2. Once beautifully browned, let the oxtails rest on a plate. In the same pot, allow the ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, and bay leaves to sizzle for a couple of minutes.
  3. Time to drench them in Shaoxing wine, dark and light soy sauces, rock sugar, water, and a careful sprinkle of salt.
  4. Reintroduce the oxtails to this aromatic brew and let it come to a boil. As it does, seal the pot and drop the heat to a gentle simmer. Let the magic unfold for 2 to 3 hours, considering your texture preference. Halfway through, a water top-up might be in order.
  5. Lift the lid and give it another half-hour of simmering love. As the oxtails reach their desired tenderness and the liquid dwindles, stir occasionally, ensuring they don’t get too clingy to the pot base. Serve this masterpiece and let the compliments flow!

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