- ½ k. of beef (brisket, flank, short ribs or shank), cut into two-inch cubes
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 whole onion
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (wash and scrub, no need to peel)
- 1 tsp. of whole black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. of five-spice powder
- 4 tbsps. of soy sauce
- 4 tbsps. of rice wine
- 1 tsp. of rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsps. of white sugar
- salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp. of tapioca or cornstarch
- cooked rice, to serve
- toasted garlic bits, to garnish
- fried onion slices, to garnish
- snipped scallions, to garnish
- Place the beef in a cooking pot. Cover with water. Place over high heat and boil for five to ten minutes or until the meat is no longer red. Throw out the water and rinse the beef to remove all traces of scum.
- Rinse out the pot, replace the beef and cover with water once more. Add the garlic, onion, ginger, peppercorns, star anise, bay leaf and five-spice powder. Pour in the soy sauce, rice wine and rice wine vinegar. Stir in the sugar. Simmer gently for two hours or until the meat is very tender.
- Halfway through the cooking, taste the broth and add salt. Do not be tempted to add more soy sauce instead of salt; otherwise, the broth will turn too dark.
- When the beef is done, scoop out the meat and transfer to a large bowl. Keep hot.
- Strain the broth then pour back into the pot. Turn on the heat and bring to a simmer.
- Dissolve the starch in 2 tbsps. of water. Pour into the simmering broth. Cook, stirring, until thickened and clear.
- Add the beef to the sauce; simmer for another 10 minutes.
- To serve, fill a bowl with rice. Arrange several pieces of beef on top. Drizzle with a few tablespoonfuls of sauce. Garnish with toasted garlic, fried onion slices and snipped scallions.