As many of you are probably aware, the Chinese have always cooked everything that is edible. I grew up eating many things that most people think are strange, like Pig Ears and Jellyfish and thinking nothing of it. In fact, it's one of the reasons, I will try almost anything. Plus I also think of food as the best medicine and I will cook whatever is needed to enhance my own health or the health of someone else that I care about. Recently, I needed to make my son some Beef Tendons because he hurt his knees and so I made them for the first time in a long time. And believe it or not, I've actually had a lot of requests for this recipe from my students because so many of them are Wood people who hurt themselves when exercising. So here's the recipe - finally!
I have to admit that Beef Tendons look really weird, but if you can get past that, they are considered the best medicine for tendon injuries along with Oxtails. You can cook Oxtails or Beef Shank along with the Tendons if you like, but be sure to double the recipe. You can buy Beef Tendons at most Asian markets or ask your Butcher to save them for you. And, believe it or not, they are quite tasty!
The Sichuanese eat Beef Tendons as a kind of cold salad. They are cooked for many hours in a spiced broth and then chilled. You can save the extra broth as a Master Sauce to cook other cuts of Beef or make a Chinese stew. Once cold, the Beef Tendons are sliced very thin because they are very chewy. Then they are dressed with a mixture of Tamari, Sesame Oil, a dash of Vinegar and Chili Oil - usually a lot of Chili Oil. I toned down my version because I can't take that kind of heat, but if you need to heal your tendons and like Chili, please add more!
Sichuan Sliced Beef Tendon
2 Beef Tendons, washed
4 cups Water
¼ teaspoon Five Spice Powder
3 Green Onions, washed, trimmed and cut in half
2 large cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Star Anise
3 cloves of Garlic
1” piece of Ginger peeled and sliced into 3 pieces
2 whole dried Red Chiles
1 Tablespoon Sichuan Peppercorns
2 Tablespoons Rock Sugar or Sugar
1/2 cup Shaoshing Rice Wine
1/2 cup Tamari
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
Cover Beef Tendons with water and bring to a boil. Then, remove tendons, drain water and wipe out the pot Then add in the Water and all of the spices and vegetables. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat. Cook for 3 hours on simmer or until Beef Tendons are soft when pierced with a fork. Cool.
Place the cooked Beef Tendons in a glass container and surround with the broth. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Then, remove the Beef Tendons and slice very thinly. Mix the slices with the Sauce - recipe below. Reserve the gelatinized broth for another use - it can be frozen.
3 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 - 2 Tablespoons Chili Oil
2 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Cilantro Leaves
Mix together in a small bowl and toss with the sliced Beef Tendon. Sprinkle with Cilantro leaves to serve.
Five Element Analysis
This dish is primarily Earthy because it is made of a Beef product. However, Tendons are also a body part associated with the Wood Element, so that Element is definitely involved and the Vinegar brings in a little more of the Wood Element The Water Element is represented by the Tamari and Sesame Oil and the fact that this is a boiled dish. The Fire Element can be found in the Rice Wine, Chiles, Chili Oil and Peppercorns and the Metal Element is covered by all the different spices along with the Green Onions, Cilantro and Garlic. I served this over a bed of Asian Greens to bring in more of the Wood Element to make this a a balanced Five Element dish.