Chinese Braised Oxtail – a dinner party favorite. I make this for guests generally since I don’t usually saddle up and indulge in oxtail alone.
I started this journey about six years ago when I had an exceptionally good oxtail in downtown Singapore and was totally hooked. I tried my best to find another in the USA, but alas…none were found. I did what most home chefs do and went online to scan all sorts of oxtail recipes. I deconstructed quite a few and finally came out with something I am pleased with. Guessing by the empty plates my friends and family are also quite pleased with it. I gave it the Asian test; feed the in-laws and see what’s left…nothin’.
And as I always say, “let’s not talk about it, let’s be about it”.
If you have all these ingredients, then go ahead and start your slow cooker on high. It will take about 15 min. to warm up and in that time you can prepare almost everything.
Salt and pepper the oxtail (thaw if frozen). Be one with the meat.
Chinese Oxtail Reduction Sauce Ingredients
Mix the soy sauce, sugar, molasses, water, star anise, cloves, onions, ginger, peppercorns and garlic. Set aside. Wow, that was easy.
Bring a cast-iron pan to high. Put the seasoned oxtail in the pan. Sear/brown/crisp on all sides – 1 min per side. This will tighten the meat up so you don’t lose tons of flavor. Yay!
- Remove the oxtail and put in the slow cooker.
- Add the Shao Hsing wine into the pan. It will bubble and spit. Burn the alcohol off. 15-30 seconds.
- Add in the reduction sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil.
- Agitate and mix. Yum. Turn off the heat.
- Add everything to the slow cooker for 5 hours. When the cartilage and tendon turn into a jelly you know it’s done.
- Turn the heat off. Let rest for 30 min. Grab the oxtail out of the liquid and put in the refrigerator overnight.
- Drain the liquid through a sieve.
- Put the liquid in the fridge as well.
After a night in the ‘fridge all the fat will come to the surface and become hard, white and yellowish. This is what you want for a healthy-esk meal. Remove the fat layer. Now you have an “aspic” or Chinese gelatin.
Day 2 – Chinese Oxtail Reheat
Heat the oven to about 325º F. Cover the oxtail with foil and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Heat the glaze/aspic on low and take the zest of half an orange and stir it in. Then add in a teaspoon of orange juice into the mix. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drizzle over the oxtail. Garnish with onion and coriander.
You did it. Easy huh? Serve it up to people you really, really love.
I find oxtails from a butcher. Generally two tails (the thickest ones closest to the base) should be plenty. Should come out to be about 12-14 medallions/discs. Ideal if fresh, but frozen is ok. This amount fits into my 5qt. slow-cooker perfectly.
- 5 to 6 pounds oxtails
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
- 1/3 cup of gluten-free Tamari soy
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon palm sugar
- 6 star anise, broken into pieces
- 20 cloves
- 3 scallions chopped
- 6 slices fresh peeled ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tsp juiced orange
- The zest of a half an orange