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Jewish-Chinese Brisket

Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) is a twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. The group was started by NewYorker Cheryl Tan, author of ‘A Tiger in the Kitchen’ , a food memoir of her Singaporean heritage. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, often by consensus, and all posts are made on the same day by this random but lovely group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. Anyone can join at any time – just join us on twitter by searching and adding the hashtag #LetsLunch. A list and link to all posts will be added to this page as they come in, so please check back.

Sunday Night Brisket. A ‘Fusion’ Dish of Jewish-Chinese Heritage.

You may look at this recipe and think that it’s not Jewish at all, and you may have a point.  This cut of meat, however, and the basic way of cooking it, is attributed (by me!) to my mother Paula. She makes the ‘Jewish’ version of this brisket every year at Passover – same meat, same cooking method, but no sauce – only onions, oil and salt. It is truly delicious and is one of those dishes that transports me right back to my childhood. It is now part of the beautiful Monday Morning Cooking Club legacy – check out our MMCC video clip of how Mum’s wonderful brisket (and the accompanying ‘ulynik’) can be made.

In order to meet the #LetsLunch direction of ‘Fusion’, I wanted to pair my mum’s succulent, fall-off-the-bone, rich, sticky and very Jewish brisket with a rich Chinese-style sauce. I opened all my Kylie Kwong books for sauce inspiration and thought it would be great to make a cooking liquid based on a red-braising stock, but with what I had in the pantry.

The reason I have called it ‘Sunday night brisket’ is because the (tongue in cheek!) quintessential pairing with the Jews and the Chinese, is that Jewish people all over the world love to eat Chinese food on a Sunday night. Well at least that’s what we grew up doing!

I also see a beautiful similarity that goes a little deeper – both Jewish and Chinese mothers love to nurture and nourish their families with heartwarming food, so it’s no wonder we feel such a connection.

My apologies for the very average pictures. Alan Benson – I need you!

Sunday Night Brisket Recipe

1 veal breast on the bone (brisket), preferably under 2 kg (4 ½ lbs)
4 onions, peeled and sliced thinly or 8 shallots/green onions, cut into 2” pieces
¼ cup vegetable oil

Cooking sauce:

2 cups shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
½ cup light soy sauce
¼ cup dark soy sauce
½ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large knob ginger (100g), peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
4 large pieces orange or manadarin peel
2 large red chillis, seeds removed and sliced in half lengthways

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Cook the onions in the oil over medium heat until soft, not brown, around 15 minutes. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Spread the cooked onions and oil over both sides of the meat.    Put the meat in a roasting pan, bone side up.  Pour over the cooking sauce. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 2 hours, basting once.

After the 2 hours, remove the foil and turn the brisket over so the bones are now underneath. Spoon the onions on to the top of the meat and continue to cook, basting every 20 minutes. Cook for 1½ hours until fork tender. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into 2-bone portions to serve.

Cooking a large brisket: If the brisket is a large one (like the one in my own pics), you will need to add up to an hour of cooking time with the foil on.  My test brisket was 3.5 kg and the total cooking time was 4.5 hours. The meat was not soft enough at the end, so I wrapped it in foil, and put it in the oven for an additional hour until the meat was fork tender. If you are starting with a big one, add the hour of cooking before you take the foil off.

This is the veal brisket that I used for this post. It weighed over 3.5 kg (8 lbs) – way too big for my liking. Still delicious, but you can’t compare it to the tenderness of the meat when you use a smaller brisket. Ideally it should not weigh more than 2 kg (4 1/2 lbs)

 

Coat the brisket with the onions and oil, and then pour the sauce over. I used quartered onions but I would prefer to use sliced onions (so they really ‘disappear’) or shallots.

 

The finished brisket. Gorgeous, dark, sweet, salty and tangy outside; Succulent, tender and juicy inside.

 

 

Check out the other #LetsLunch posts here:

Renee’s Asian Spiced Quick Pickles at My Kitchen And I

Lucy’s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango at A Cook and her Books

Emma’s Kimchi Bulgogi Nachos at Kitchen Dreamer

Grace’s Taiwanese Fried Chicken at Hapa Mama

Cheryl’s Pork Curry Tacos at A Tiger in the Kitchen

Jill’s Southern Pimento-Stuffed Knishes at Eating My Words

Joe’s Grilled KimCheese Sandwich at Joe Yonan

Linda’s Project Runway Pelau: Rice & Beans Trinidad-Style at Spicebox Travels

Nancie’s Chili-Cheese Biscuits with Avocado Butter at Nancie McDermott

Rashda’s Mango Cobbler at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Steff’s Chicken Fried Steak at The Kitchen Trials

Vivian’s Funky Fusion Linguini at Vivian Pei

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17 Responses to Jewish-Chinese Brisket

  1. rozanne May 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    a masterpiece….again!!!

    I so wish I could have tested this for you xx

    • Lisa Goldberg May 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Rozanne – I promise you next time I make it, I’ll give you a shout and you can pop in for a taste…xx

      • david April 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

        me too this recipe looks epic stealing it pho sure Lisa.

  2. Cowgirl Chef May 5, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    You had me at me at brisket. Wow. Double-wow. I like the idea of making this on Sunday, too. Or Monday…or…

  3. linda @spiceboxtravels May 5, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Lovely! Brilliant idea to celebrate the well-known Jewish-Chinese connection :) The braise is very similar to the broth used in Taiwanese beef noodle soup– I can taste it from here!

    • Lisa Goldberg May 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks Linda, I’d love to try a Taiwanese beef noodle soup some time soon…we are just heading into winter here so it is just what we need!

  4. Lucy May 6, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    Sold at “gorgeous, dark, sweet and salty on the outside…” Great post!

  5. Karen M. May 8, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    Hi Lisa,
    This might be a dumb question, but do you think this would work with a “regular” US style beef brisket? I don’t recall ever seeing a veal brisket quite like what you’ve pictures… Your dish looks and sounds delish!
    Thanks

    • Lisa Goldberg May 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi Karen,
      No, not a dumb question at all (no such thing!) The sauce would work for an ordinary beef brisket for sure, you would just need to change the cooking time. I would suggest you get some advice from your butcher on the cooking time (it really depends on the size of the piece). You could start at 150 C (300 F) and cook it covered with alfoil for 3 hours, and it should be just about fork tender. If not, continue cooking. Then remove the foil and cook, uncovered for an additional 1 1/2 hours. If you need to add cooking time you need to do it with the foil on, otherwise the sauce will burn. You can always re-cover at the end if it is not tender enough.
      And maybe you can ask your butcher to start selling you a breast of veal on the bone…it is a fabulous cut of meat.
      Happy cooking!
      L.

  6. love2dine May 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    wow! that would be perfect for my dinner.

  7. Rebecca May 9, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    I had a similar question as Karen did. We asked our butcher this weekend about brisket with bone in and he said he’d never even heard of it in the US. If we can’t find breast of veal anywhere, I was thinking of just trying this recipe with beef short ribs instead. But if you have any opinions on that or about other cuts that might work, I’d love to hear.

    Frankly, I would eat that sauce on just about anything. :-)

    What a wonderful recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Lisa Goldberg May 9, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      Hi Rebecca – I think beef short ribs would be SO fabulous with this sauce. Great idea! Just keep in mind that you really don’t want this sauce to burn, so they should be covered for way longer than they are uncovered. I am also going to try it with short ribs…but I would want to cook them until they are completely soft and falling off the bone which is often a challenge for me with beef ribs.
      I am not surprised that your butchers never do it this way. It is not a standard cut of meat here. My mother always orders it specially from the kosher butcher in Melbourne, and I now have a butcher in Sydney who now understands what it is and does it for me. Maybe if you ask your butcher, he will do one for you? It is really a wonderful cut of meat, and my mother’s brisket from the book (the one in the video) is so simple, unique and incredible!
      L.

  8. Tina July 6, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    good day….in response to Karen M and Rebecca’s question —here in the States, we call this cut of meat a breast of veal…you should be able to find it if you ask for it this way. When I read the recipe and saw the picture, I was initially confused by the title of the recipe. A brisket here is a completely different, boneless, cut of beef. I buy breast of veal cut with a pocket so that it can be stuffed (sooo yummy), but I’m going to try it this way next time I get one. Hope this helps.

  9. Greg September 2, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    Lisa, hi again from Singapore. Going to make this as well for RH, but there are no kosher butchers here, and there is not one single butcher who sells veal breast on the bone either. So can you advise on adjustments if I buy a regular brisket?
    Thanks,
    Greg

  10. Rachel October 12, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    I made these today, using beef short ribs, adding an extra hour of covered cooking time. They are fabulous – sticky, tasty, and just so yum. Thanks, once again, for a fantastic recipe.

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