Soy, sweet potato and beef pot with steamed lime rice


First published in 2016
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This recipe combines the fragrant flavours of Southeast Asia with British-style casserole cooking. This thick and shiny dark stew is laced with sweet soy, firecracker spices and liquorice tones, and is accompanied by creamy cubes of sweet potato. Beef shin is slowly cooked in the sauce with charred peppers and aromatics until tender and falling apart. Sweet potatoes are added for a final hurrah and cooked until just soft.

To complement the rich stew I added a lively lime rice, made by simply simmering beautiful Akafuji Akitakomachi rice with fragrant lime leaves. Once the rice is cooked and fluffy, fresh lime zest and juice is added. It’s a wonderful, slightly acidic accompaniment to the sweet, soft beef. Serve in the colder months when you need a dinner to warm you from the inside out.




Beef casserole

  • 1kg beef shin, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, chopped into chunky pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of plain flour
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped or 2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 3 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunky pieces roughly 6cm
  • 1 sweet potato, (large) or 2 medium (about 400g cubed weight), peeled and cut into 3 cm chunks
  • 2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 600ml of beef stock, hot
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable oil

Lime rice

  • 300g of rice, Akafuji Akitakomachi
  • 500ml of water, cold
  • 3 lime leaves
  • 1 lime, zest and juice only

To serve

Begin by getting all the frying out of the way. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a deep casserole pan over a high heat. Fry the pieces of beef shin until browned all over, then remove and set aside. This is best done in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan
Add a further 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and add the peppers in 2 batches until they begin to char, this should take about 5–6 minutes. Set aside with the beef shin. Reduce the heat to medium, add a touch more oil if needed and add the onion to the pan
Soften the onion for approximately 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last minute. Stir through the flour, then throw in the five spice, star anise and chopped chilli. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, season with black pepper and heat through for a minute or so. You’ve done all the hard work now
Add the soy sauce and beef stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 3 hours or until the beef is perfectly tender
Remove the lid and add the sweet potatoes. Simmer for a further 45 minutes until the potatoes are just tender
Meanwhile, make the rice. Place the rice in a medium pan and pour over 500ml of cold water. Add the lime leaves, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 6–8 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to steam for a further 5–6 minutes. Remove the lid and add the fresh lime zest and juice to the rice to finish, stirring to combine
Just before serving, heat a dry pan over a high heat, add the coriander seeds and toast until fragrant. Serve the casserole alongside the lime rice with a handful of coriander leaves, toasted seeds and lashings of buttermilk
First published in 2016
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