Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beef Brisket Clear Soup Stew / 清湯牛腩

Beef Brisket Clear Soup Stew is a very popular Cantonese dish. Sweet and beefy in taste, soft and tender meat and clear soup with hints of spices. It may looked like a normal dish, the scent and fragrance of the soup from hours of simmering is lip-smackingly delicious.

Undeniably, the clear beef brisket soup has such a strong umami flavor that you cannot resist but finish it to the last drop.

In my hometown Kampar, we do have this soup serve alongside with dry noodles. In Hong Kong, this dish is easily available, especially the famous Kau Kee Beef Brisket Soup Noodles. Asians have plenty of ways of cooking their version of 'beef stew' or 'beef soup', while Cantonese prefers this clear soup version. However, different family will have different preference in the type of spices added into the soup.

I stewed this pot, and I served 6 adults along with fluffy white rice. Yumms!

(Source : Chinese Food Recipe with modification)
  • 650g Beef Brisket 牛腩
  • 200g Beef Shin 牛腱
  • 6 Water Chestnut (Optional) 马蹄
  • 10 Beef Balls (Optional) 牛肉丸
  • 1 White Radish 白萝卜
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing Wine 绍兴酒
  • 2 stalks Spring Onions 葱
  • 40g Old Ginger, sliced 老姜
  • 2500ml Water 水
  • Sea Salt to taste 海盐
Spices for the soup
  • 1 Bay Leaf 香叶
  • 10g Rock Sugar 冰糖
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seed 小茴香
  • 1/2 Szechuan Pepper 川椒
  • 1 Cinnamon Bark 桂皮
  • 4 Cloves 丁香
  • 2 Star Anise 八角
  • 1 piece Licorice Root 甘草
  • thumb sized Sun-Dried Tangerine Peel 老陈皮
  1. Preparation - Cut meat into pieces and white radish into big chunks. Give the spices a quick rinse. Soak tangerine peel till soft, scrape off the whitish part. 
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add brisket and shin into the boiling water, simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drained, rinse the beef pieces and the saucepan to get rid of the scums. 
  3. Heat a pan with some oil, fry sliced gingers till fragrant. Add in the rest of the spices, shao xing wine, rock sugar, beef brisket and beef shin. Stir well. Add in water and bring to a boil. 
  4. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30mins, scoop the scums away (if any) and add in 1 stalk of spring onions. 
  5. Add in white radish and beef balls, continue to simmer under low fire for another 30mins (or more), covered. Check the tenderness of the beef brisket and beef shin to your likeliness
  6. Turn off the heat, add salt to taste. Let the soup continue to 'cook' under it's own temperature, for another 30mins.
  7. To serve, reheat the soup, scoop onto the bowl, sprinkle spring onions and serve with fluffy white rice.
This recipe is very forgiving. You can choose to use only beef brisket if you doesn't like beef shin. I added some beef balls into the stew because my big boy Max would love to have em'. Water chestnut can add extra sweetness to the stew. I happened to have some at home, so, I just conveniently add some in there.

I got my beef brisket, beef shin and beef balls from Chinatown wet market. Beef brisket cost S$10 per kg. Good deal eh.

The variety of spices I used is quite alot. But if you don't have all of them in the list, you can opt out some of them. However, ginger, spring onions, szechuan pepper, rock sugar, tangerine peels are essential. Otherwise, you won't be able to get even the right flavorful taste of the broth.

I didn't remove the ginger skin. Ginger and ginger skin has health benefits. I'm sure very little people knows that leaving the skin on your ginger is better for you. Ginger skin doesn't only makes the dish taste better, it aids in digestion by improving absorption of essential nutrients and helps to break down the proteins in your food. Of course, for some cosmetic reasons on certain dishes, I will still remove the ginger skin :)

Fusing with the lean meat into one, the brisket has generated a heavenly consistency. I brewed the soup for 30mins, and the flavor of the spices is all over the soup. I don't the spices to over-powered and covered the beefy taste, because beefy sweetness is eventually what we want. So, I removed the strong flavored spices star anise, cinnamon bark, cloves and licorice root from the soup. You can also do the same or if you prefer stronger spices flavor, you can leave the spices in the soup all the way.

Now, I am able to make this beef brisket clear soup stew at home anytime. To me, the best part about cooking is that you are willing to make something from scratch, and your loved ones enjoy eating it.

I find this soup absolutely suitable for all-year-round dish. The soup is clean, slightly sweet, intensely beefy. Surely will cook it again in near future.

What's next for me to explore? I don't know. I shall think about it :)

Happy cooking!


  1. This looks really, really delicious. I am planning to cook this next week! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I am planning to cook this next week!