Hui beef stew with chickpeas
Saturday 01 November 2008
Hui is the name given in China to the people of Han Chinese ethnicity who are Muslim. Hui cuisine has strong central-Asian flavours, hence the Sichuan pepper I've used here – add more if you wish. You can make this with lamb or beef, but pick the cuts that take the longest time to cook: ox cheeks, shin, flank, etc.
200g cooked chick peas
3tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1-1.5kg oxtail, cut into pieces, excess fat removed
5 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 star anise
1tsp Sichuan peppercorns, ground coarsely
2 medium red chillies
2 litres beef stock
4 spring onions, sliced on the angle
2tbsp chopped coriander
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Season the oxtail and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until nicely coloured. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onions for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, chilli and stock and season lightly. Add the oxtail and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 1-2 hours, skimming regularly and topping up with water if necessary. It's not essential to put an exact time on slow-cooked dishes but check the meat after 1 hours, then add the chick peas and continue simmering until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bone. To serve, add the spring onions and coriander, simmer for a couple of minutes and serve. Serve with rice, noodles or Chinese greens.
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