Sunday Night Brisket. A ‘Fusion’ Dish of Jewish-Chinese Heritage.
In celebration of Chinese New Year 2016, we bring you our ultimate fusion dish: Jewish-Chinese Brisket.
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 video clip which shows how Mum’s wonderful brisket (and the accompanying ‘ulynik’) can be made – and the recipe is in our first book ‘Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood‘.
I thought it would be fun (and delicious) 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 Jewish people 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.
Happy Chinese New Year to all those celebrating it this year!
- 1 veal breast on the bone (brisket), preferably under 2 kg (4 ½ lbs)
- 2 onions finely sliced
- 4 green spring onions (shallots) cut into 2 inch slices
- 1/4 cup grape seed oil
- 2 cups shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
- 1/2 cup light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large knob ginger grated
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tsp Chinese five spice
- 4 large pieces orange or mandarin peel
- 2 large red chillis seeds removed and sliced
- Note: If you find this too salty, substitute low salt soy or tamari for the soy sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Cook both types of 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.
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