Sometimes shopping can be dangerous....no I'm not referring to the aggressive older Asian women, who "shopping cart check", push past, or just plain run you over like a hard nosed version of Lorenzo Neal. I'm talking about when something calls to you......I'm sure it has happened to you. On a recent shopping excursion to Zion Market, I was flagged down by some Oxtails.
"Hey stranger, going my way???"
Which I ended up purchasing. I had thought of making a nice Oxtail Soup....but this was vetoed by the Missus who said it was just too darn hot for soup. So what to make? In the end, I decided to throw together a Chinese influenced braised Oxtail dish. Taking ideas from various Chinese braising recipes, most notably Red Cooking.
It came out rather well, served with fragrant Jasmine Rice, and Pea Shoots quickly stir fried with garlic and salt using the Big Kahuna. Overall, it was very easy, pretty much just cooks itself over the course of 3-4 hours. Not as sweet as usual red cooked dishes, no use of dark soy either(I was out of Dark Soy), and of course the chilies take it in a totally different direction. Letting rest overnight is a key step.
Chinese Style Braised Oxtails
4-5 Lbs Oxtails
2/3 Cup Shao Xing Wine
2/3 Soy Sauce
3 Cups Water
4 Tb Dark Brown Sugar
1 Star Anise
1 2" piece of ginger crushed
4 Scallions - White part only chopped
5 cloves Garlic Roughly Chopped
2 Tb Soy Bean Paste
2 Pieces Dried Orange Peel
3 Tb Canola Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
2-3 Dried Chilies (optional)
1 - Season Oxtails with Salt and Pepper
2 - Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or Pot, and brown Oxtails.
3 - Once Oxtails are browned, remove from pot. Drain all but 2-3 Tb oil from pot.
4 - Add Dried Chilies(if you are using them). Once chilies are slighly blackened and fragrant, add garlic and scallion. Stir until soften and fragrant.
5 - Add Bean Paste and mix in briefly until fragrant.
6 - Add Soy Sauce, Shao Xing, Sugar, and Water. Mix until sugar dissolves. Bring liquid to a boil.
7 - Add star anise, ginger, and dried orange peel.
8 - Reduce heat to a low simmer and place Oxtails back into pot.
9 - Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours, turning Oxtails occaisionally.
10 - When Oxtails are very tender, remove from heat.
11 - Let cool, than refrigerate overnight.
12 - The next day, remove oxtails from braising liquid, and skim off fat as desired.
13 - Heat liquid, and strain.
14 - Place Oxtails back into braising liquid and heat.
Some other options - use the braising liquid to braise Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, or you can thicken or reduce into a thick sauce, or just pour the liquid over rice and veggies like we did. I'm sure you can come up with many different combinations.
Enjoy some gelatinous-meaty fun!
By request; here's a really bad photo of the Bean Paste I used that I took in a rush this morning.