Five Spice Beef

  • Active Time 5m
  • Total Time 24h 10m

Serves 8-10

Another name for this dish is red-stewed beef. The technique of stewing is recorded in texts surviving from the Zhou dynasty (1050-249 BC). In fact, bamboo slips itemizing food, seasonings and cooking methods found recently in archeological diggings, clearly indicate that keng (stew) was the main food in China from antiquity to the Han period (202 BC-AD 220). Keng was the forerunner of the method referred to today as red-stewed or red-cooked.


  • For Simmering Sauce:
  • 1 cup light soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free option)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Knob of fresh ginger the size of a small walnut, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 tablespoons five spice powder or mixed spices (available at Chinese stores), wrapped in a square of cheesecloth (muslin)

  • 1 pound beef shin, in one whole round piece with no cuts


Bring all the ingredients for the simmering sauce to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the piece of beef. Place the beef in the pot, and bring the sauce back to boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours.

Remove the beef and chill in the refrigerator for at least several hours, or preferably overnight.

Thinly slice and serve as a cold appetizer.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 2562

nutrition information per serving

133 calories; 7g total fat; 48mg cholesterol; 1474mg sodium; 3g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 14g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.