Braised beef brisket in chu hou sauce (柱侯蘿蔔炆牛腩) is a popular dish found in many Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, such as cha chaan teng (HK style cafes) and open-air food stalls (dai pai dong). Brisket is a tough cut of meat and requires cooking over a long period of time to become tender. If you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can make Chinese braised beef brisket at home in just over an hour!
What is Chu Hou Sauce?
Chu hou sauce is a common Chinese sauce made with fermented soybeans, garlic, ginger, and sesame. It’s great for braising meats and vegetables. Instead of making my own, I prefer to buy the Lee Kum Kee Chu Hou Paste for convenience.
What Type of Brisket to Use for Braised Beef Brisket
Did you know there are different kinds of beef brisket? In Chinese recipes for braised brisket, the two commonly used cuts are:
- beef brisket 牛腩
- boneless short rib 牛坑腩 – in Chinese supermarkets it may be labelled as “beef finger meat”
Both cuts of beef are from the underside of the cow and would work for this recipe. I personally prefer the boneless short rib as I find it to be more flavourful.
Regardless of which cut of brisket you use, there will likely be excess fat attached. I ALWAYS (in caps because it’s important!) trim off as much excess fat as possible. This way, I do not need to deal a thick layer of fat sitting on top of my stew at the end of the cooking process. If you skip this step, you should skim the layer fat prior to thickening the sauce to avoid an overly greasy dish.
Instant Pot Braised Beef Brisket in Chu Hou Sauce Recipe
This is a basic recipe for Chinese braised beef brisket with daikon and fresh bean curd sticks. Feel free to add in beef tendon which is a popular addition to this dish. The cooking time is about the same but you may require more liquid than what this recipe asks for.
Chinese braised beef brisket in chu hou sauce is a common dish found in many Hong Kong restaurants. With handy Instant Pot, you can make this delicious beef stew at home in just over an hour!
- 1.5 lb beef brisket, cut into 2" pieces
- 1 medium daikon radish, cut into quarters
- 2 cups fresh bean curd thread/sticks, cut into 2" pieces
- 3 slices ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 pcs star anise, whole
- 1 shallots, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (a type of Chinese cooking wine)
- 5-10 g rock sugar
- 2.5 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chu Hou paste
- 1.5 tsp light soy sauce
- 1.5 tsp oyster sauce
- 400 ml water
- 1.5 tbsp corn starch
- 3 tbsp water
- salt, to taste
Heat up the Instant Pot using the Saute mode.
When the display shows "HOT", drizzle in the canola oil, then add in the garlic, shallots, ginger pieces and whole star anise. Saute for about a minute or until fragrant.
Add in the beef brisket pieces. Do not toss or flip them for the first couple of minutes to slightly brown the meat.
De-glaze the pan with the Shaoxing wine.
Stir in the chu hou paste, light soy sauce and oyster sauce. Then add the rock sugar and 400ml of water.
Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, then natural release for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the pressure releasing handle to release remaining pressure.
Optional but highly recommended step: Skim out excess fat floating on top of the stew.
Stir in the daikon radish and bean curd pieces. Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes then natural release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the pressure releasing handle to release remaining pressure.
While you wait for the natural release, mix the corn starch with 3 tbsp of water.
Remove the lid carefully and switch the Instant Pot to Saute mode and bring the stew to a boil. Once it's bubbling, stir in the corn starch and water mixture to thicken the sauce. Taste and season with salt if desired.
Serve the Braised Beef Brisket in Chu Hou Sauce with rice or noodles.
- Some recipe asks for parboiling the beef brisket and some don't. I find this step option.
- I use fresh bean curd sticks/threads because they are available at our local Asian supermarkets. If you can't find fresh ones, you can use the dry variety and rehydrate them with water. Make sure you're using bean cured sticks/threads and not bean curd sheets.