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Braised Beef with Shiitake Mushrooms and Black Fungus

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Chinese braises (similar to stews or casseroles) is a very popular way of cooking in Southern Chinese cuisines, namely Cantonese and Fujian. This method of cooking is also well-liked all over China. Chinese braising, also referred to as red cooking, normally involves slow cooking main ingredients like meat, seafood, tofu, hard boiled eggs and mixed vegetables in a master stock made up of water, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rock sugar and rice wine. An assortment of spices, herbs and seasonings like five spice powder, star anise, cloves, dried orange mandarin skin, bay leaves, Szechuan pepper corns, dried shiitake mushroom, black fungus, garlic, ginger, spring onions and fried onion shallots. Depending on the meat used and spices, herbs and seasonings, there are numerous variations of Chinese braises that are really tasty comfort food for the whole family. Similarly, Chinese home cooking involves many easy to make and yet delicious braise dishes. For my quick and easy gluten free braised beef recipe, my main ingredients are sliced grass fed beef rum steaks, shiitake mushrooms and black fungus, cooked in a sauce made from blackstrap molasses, medium dry sherry, salt, star anise, cloves, garlic and ginger. This recipe is also soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free and refined sugar free. This simple Chinese home cooking dish is not only easy to prepare but also loaded with iron, vitamins and minerals.

Rump steak is one of my most favourite cut of meat and I prefer grass-fed rump steaks too as they are more juicy and tender. The rump cut is from the upper section of the round steak cut, it is full of flavour and a substantial portion of beef to serve up. It is not only a delicious piece of steak with more taste than beef sirloin and a more affordable price tag as well. Rump steak is considered the premium cut of steak for body building as it is very high in protein, low in fat and reasonably priced. This cut of meat is perfect for stir fries when thinly sliced and when diced, it is ideal for slow, extended and moist cooking like braises, stews and/or casseroles. Grass-fed beef has substantially more omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), higher in vitamin A and E and antioxidants compared with grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is a high quality protein with less cholesterol and less calories. Generally, it has less fats and especially unhealthy fats. Grass-fed rump steak is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin B12, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Health benefits include: maintain healthy heart and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases; promote healthy blood sugar level; support healthy weight and aid in weight loss; help build muscles; may prevent diabetes and reduce risks of cancer.

Shiitake mushrooms and black fungus are considered as superfood and healing food in traditional Chinese medicine and are also widely used in many Chinese cuisines for their taste and texture. Shiitake mushrooms first originated in China, then spread to Japan and are now cultivated all over the world usually grown in humid and damp climates. Dried shiitake mushrooms are extremely popular in culinary use compared to fresh shiitake mushrooms. They are rich in protein containing all the 8 amino acids, abundant in dietary fiber and have antimicrobial properties. Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), manganese and phosphorus. They are also a good source of copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, selenium, iron and vitamin D. Health benefits of shiitake mushrooms include: help fight infectious disease; combat cancer cells; enhance the immune system and boost energy; support brain function; promote healthy cardiovascular system; help maintain healthy body weight and lower risks of diabetes. While black fungus (Auricularia polytricha), also called wood ear, cloud ear, tree ear or Judas ear, is actually a mushroom that varies in colour from dark brown to black and originated from Asia and Pacific islands with tropical climates. It is very popular as an ingredient in Chinese and other East Asian cuisines and usually dried black fungus are used instead of fresh ones. In traditional Chinese medicine, black fungus is used to promote positive thoughts, treat ailments of respiratory system, digestive system and the liver. Black fungus contains vitamin K and has anticoagulant substances that prevent blood clotting (thrombosis and embolism) and behave like blood thinning medication similar to aspirins. Black fungus is rich in dietary fiber, high in protein, has plenty of polysaccharide and contains cellulose and plant collagen. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. It is also a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, copper and zinc. Other health benefits of black fungus include: reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases; help cleanse the blood; detox the digestive system; lower high cholesterol; prevent constipation; nourish the lungs; prevent iron deficiency anaemia and deters growth of tumours and reduce risks of cancer.

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2 Responses

  1. daphnegoh
    | Reply

    This recipe is easy to make and comes with a lot of health benefits. I agree with you that eating both vegetables and meat is vital for health. Hope you enjoy the recipe. :)

  2. Austin Beavis
    | Reply

    The recipe looks simple and I will try it next weekend. You have mentioned all the healthy ingredients and as a health conscious person myself I love eating vegetables and meat. Thanks for sharing the history of this tempting dish.

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