1½ kilograms beef shin on the bone in pieces
½ cup plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 fat stalks of lemongrass
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of chilli flakes
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 x 400 gram tin coconut cream
2 cups good beef stock
½ cup crisp roasted shallots
½ cup coriander
hot cooked basmati rice
½ teaspoon black sesame seeds, optional
Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
Heat both the oils in a large ovenproof casserole dish or saucepan. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. In batches, dust the beef in flour, shaking off the excess. Cook over a medium heat until a good golden brown on all sides. Don’t let the flour catch and burn on the base of the pan. Remove each piece to a plate as it browns.
Cut off the bulb end (white part only) of the lemongrass (about 6 cm) and discard the tough leaves.
Chop the lemongrass bulb very finely.
Add the lemongrass, onion, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick and chilli flakes to the sauté pan, cover and cook until the onions are soft. Add a splash of water if the pan is too dry.
Stir in the hoisin and soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut cream and the stock, then the beef with any resting juices. Turn to coat in the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Place a piece of crumpled baking paper over the beef then cover tightly with a lid. Braise for 2½ - 3 hours, turning the meat once during cooking, until it is meltingly tender. If the liquid is quite thin, carefully remove the meat to a dish, cover and keep warm. Place the casserole dish over a high heat and boil until syrupy.
To serve: Transfer the beef to a serving bowl and spoon over the sauce. Scatter with roasted shallots and coriander. Serve the rice sprinkled with the sesame seeds.
When buying shin, look for pieces with a small centre bone and a lot of meat. Snip the skin on each piece of shin in several places to release the tough silverskin. This helps stop the meat from curling up during cooking.
Packets of roasted shallots are available at Asian food stores and good supermarkets.