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Article: My Mother's Braised East-West Oxtail Stew

My Mother's Braised East-West Oxtail Stew

Perfect Wok Pairing: 36cm Carbon Steel Wok - Lightweight, non-stick and large enough to fit all ingredients.



900g- 1kg (2 to 2¼ lb) beef oxtails

4 cups Tomato Concassé, freshly made, or tinned tomatoes, drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon groundnut oil

225 g ( 8 oz) yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

3 tablespoons plum sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

450g (1 lb) carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

450g (1 lb) turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

225g (8 oz) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

A handful of small, quality olives



  1. Blanch the oxtails for 10 minutes in boiling water, drain well in a colander, and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. 
  3. Put the tomatoes into the container of a food processor and blend for just a few seconds or put them through a food mill. Set aside.
  4. Heat your wok over moderate heat, add the olive and peanut oils, and slowly brown the oxtails on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and pour off the excess fat and oil, leaving just 1 tablespoon. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until they are translucent.
  5. Add to the onions and garlic the oxtails, tomatoes, plum sauce, hoisin sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, lemon zest, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, pour everything into the rice cookery, cover, and put in the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until the oxtails are tender.
  6. Add the carrots, turnips, and potatoes and cook, covered, for another 20 minutes or until tender.
  7. Add the olives and heat them through. Skim off any surface fat and serve at once.

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