Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Five-spice braised beef

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 4
This slow-cooked Chinese-flavoured dish makes a lovely change from a stir-fry but is just as easy to prepare. Equipment and preparation: For this recipe, you will need an electric slow-cooker, at least 3.5 litres/6 pints in capacity.


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened and lightly browned. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes, stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.

  2. Season the beef all over with pepper, then sprinkle over the five-spice powder and mix to coat evenly. Add to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, turning the beef regularly until lightly browned all over.

  3. Transfer to the slow-cooker. Pour over the stock and stir in the soy sauce. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, until the beef is meltingly tender.

  4. When the beef is cooked, whisk the cornflour with 1 tablespoon water to a smooth paste, stir in the honey. Add to the slow-cooker, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the sauce is glossy and has thickened slightly.

  5. Serve the beef with steamed rice or boiled noodles and stir-fried vegetables.


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 50g/1¾oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 500g/1lb 2oz braising steak, trimmed, cut into 5cm/2in cubes
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 350ml/12fl oz hot beef stock (made with 1 stock cube)
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • freshly ground black pepper

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