Friday, 8 November 2013

There’s Nothing Like Oxtail

I have a soft spot for any dish that contains oxtail. Although this animal part seldom sat on my family’s dinner table, I’ve always loved its rich robust flavor. And I’m always on the lookout for it whatever the cuisine. I haven’t had much luck, though, searching for oxtail in Chinese cuisine; I’ve done much better with Malay and western food.

I remember that when I served oxtail at the restaurant I used to own in Hong Kong, it would draw ooohs and aahhs whenever the lid was lifted off the pot, because the space would immediately fill with its luscious aroma.

The following recipe is the one I used in Hong Kong.

Oxtail Stew with Guinness

Oxtail                          750 g
Plain flour                   4 tbsp
Oil                               4 tbsp
Onion                         2, chopped coarsely
Carrot                          2, diced 
Celery                         4 stalks, diced
Potato                         2, diced
Button mushroom     150 g, halved
Salt                              1 tsp
Butter                          2 tbsp
Bacon                          100 g, diced
Garlic                           5 cloves
Shallot                         5
Red wine                     ¼ cup
Tomato paste              3 tbsp
Guinness stout            1 can
Coconut juice              1 cup
5-spice powder           1 tbsp
Lemongrass                 2, bashed
Salt                               1 tsp

  1. Preheat oven at  180 degree C.
  2. Dust oxtail with flour. Brown oxtail with oil. Set aside.
  3. Saute the vegetables and salt with the remaining oil in the French oven for 5 mins. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and sweat the vegetable for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Saute bacon, garlic and shallots with 1 tbsp of butter. Return oxtail to the pot and deglaze it with red wine. Add tomato paste and stir well.
  5. Pour Guinness stout and coconut juice into the pot. Add 5-spice powder and lemon grass.
  6. Put parchment paper directly onto surface of the stew. Make sure parchment paper covers the surface completely.
  7. Cover the lid and bake for 1½ hours.  Add the sauted vegetable and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and serve.

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