nutritious

Chinese braised oxtail in Instant Pot

Chinese braised oxtail dish, prepared in the Instant Pot a fantastic new tool in my kitchen. This appliance really has cut down the cooking time impressively compared to a Dutch oven on the stovetop and/or oven technique. Only slow-braising in the slow cooker could be an equal in flavour but definitely not a time-saver. The actual Instant Pot meat/stew program was ready in thirty minutes! More information on the Instant Pot and Instant Pot FAQ links.

In all fairness, the total cooking time all together was around one and half hours;

  1. Sauteing oxtail bones 10-15 minutes
  2. Meat/Stew program 30 minutes
  3. Push the cancel button (if not the pressure will not lower directly, it will also extend the waiting time)
  4. NPR – natural pressure release 30 minutes and final
  5. QPR – quick pressure release 5-10 minutes (keep a towel at hand to cover, just in case the steam bursts with a fountain of depressurized liquid)
  6. Finished oxtail bones only – 1½ hours.
  7. Optional: added vegetables and used the manual slow cook program with adjusted time.
  8. Or use the Warm keep function additionally, set the time preference.

Stovetop and slow cooker actual time would definitely between 4-6 hours or more depending on the cut size and weight including the preparation time before until the end of cooking time. If I had doubled or tripled the quantity in the Instant Pot, the cooking meat/stew program still be consistent ready in 30 minutes.

 

Shared my Instant Pot awe-struck moment of braised oxtail with meat falling off the bone while retaining the shape of vegetables. The Instant Pot microprocessor controlled programs work like magic. I posted a photo of my finished Chinese style braised oxtail bones on FB Instant Pot® Community group and received responses on how to make with a full recipe to share. Here’s a quick image overview.

Chinese style braised oxtail bones – recipe

1. Pushed the Sauté button, added vegetable oil as soon as it heated up I added all the oxtail bones into the pot for 5-7 minutes. When it’s browned well the meat releases easily from the bottom.

Instant Pot Sauté preset

Instant Pot Sauté function on with oxtail bones

2. Stir meat around browning all sides, While turning everything around add the spices; cinnamon and star anise. As soon as they release aroma, add the ginger first than garlic. Keep stirring the pot to mix and pan-fry at the same time. With all the brown bits sticking pour in the Chinese wine and scrape the bottom loose. Followed by all other ingredients and close the lid. Cancel the sauté program and push the Meat/Stew button to start braising the oxtail bones.

Instant Pot Sauté preset

Instant Pot Sauté preset

3. After 30 minutes the beep sounded waited for the pressure to come down, the released pressured air carried a hint of the wonderful aroma. When I opened the lid this is what I saw, tender, moist oxtail meat, and vegetables in a flavoursome gravy with an intense fragrance floating upwards from the pan. Pleased as punch with my dish and my new kitchen gadget.

Instant Pot Meat/Stew program

Instant Pot Meat/Stew program

4. Transferred my braised oxtail dish into a normal pan, time to dish up the plates. Life is good.

Chinese braised oxtail bones

Chinese style braised Oxtail bones

Serve in a bowl with rice or noodles on the side or as a topping making it a one-dish meal. Not shown in the image (too fast gobbling it up), for a beautiful presentation you may choose to garnish it with sprigs of coriander, thinly sliced onion rings, diagonally slices of chilli pepper or a mix of altogether scattered on top.

Click here for the Chinese style braised Oxtail bones recipe.

Please read my disclaimer and disclosure on affiliated links and copyright notice for links and information in this post.

Chinese style braised oxtail bones – recipe

Chinese style braised oxtail bones are served as a topping on rice or served separately in a wide bowl. Vegetables as carrots and cassava are added making this dish a hearty and flavoursome nutritious dish. Paleo fans will enjoy its warming earthiness as much without any gluten ingredients. Interchanging between a variety of bean sauces (Chinese fermented soybean sauces), chilli paste and spices will allow you to play with an aroma to your own liking. Or be adventurous and choose to cook from other south-east Asian cuisines enjoying the different flavour, texture with salivating fragrances.

Serve in a bowl by itself with rice or noodles on the side, or topped above as a one-dish meal for lunch or dinner. As a main dish, if preparing a menu for more persons, I would suggest adding a vegetable- and doufu dish with a light soup to complement each other. The Chinese style braised oxtail bones will be the focus for your guests at the table. For the recipe scroll here below, click here for Chinese braised oxtail in Instant Pot information and photo images.

Difference between braise, stews and soup – Update 21 December 2015

I received engaging comments with the questions, how much liquid to add. Followed by the difference between braising and stews. In answer to my readers,  I am updating the post with the replied information on the method of cooking techniques used for tougher cuts of meat.

To start with the liquid in any recipe, it focuses on the right volume to add, water, stock or broth. Next, the cut size of the meat (small cubes) and cutting against the grain means cutting crosswise through the long muscle fibres in the meat. Breaking them up makes meat more tender.

Often used cuts are the less tender and gelatinous parts of meat for slow cooking as well as the use of accompanying vegetables in the dish. In order to fuse all the ingredients together to melt into a tender and flavoursome dish, is by breaking down the connective tissue as tendons (collagen) just simmering it slowly using the right low temperature.

Braising and stewing cooking technique are combination cooking methods using the hob and/or oven.

  • Braising is cooking meat on a bed of vegetables in a small amount of liquid, utilising steam and stewing in its cooking process. At the end of the cooking process, the meat often falls off the bone and the concentrated gravy is clinging to the pieces of meat.
  • Stewing is a slow cook method, where the food is cut into smaller pieces and covered in liquid using gentle heat for a long time. Here the meat is fork tender and the liquid is reduced covering the meat pieces in an aromatic thick sauce.

Cooking with high pressure is perfect it doesn’t require a whole lot of liquid, making it perfect for braised dishes in my Instant Pot DUO 7-1 I use or Lux 6-1 (version without yoghurt option). In comparison with my stove high-pressure cooker, where you have to manually set the timer and keep an eye on it still. The IP has automated meat/stew 30 minutes program you just press and walk away, at the end of time cancel the keep warm function so the natural pressure release can come down a bit faster (approx. 30-45 min.).

For a braised result, I submerge the meat by adding water or stock just barely covering it exposing some of the bones and meat. If you would opt for only (e.g. 50%) using half of water or stock to add, be aware that the gravy will reduce significantly as well. Tip: Keep in mind if this dish is completely cooled the gravy of the bones will be very gelatinous (jiggly as jelly). Meat jelly is another Chinese delicacy served eating it cold as homecooked food and can be creatively used in appetisers or bun fillings for example.

If I like to make a stew instead, I will submerge the ingredients covering it to ½-1 inch (1 ½ – 3 cm) above with liquid or more if it calls for a soupy consistency.

 

Drink suggestions:

  • Tea leaves: Green tea or Jasmine tea is very common, but Pu Erh tea has an earthy smokiness which is very pleasant with an added bonus it really cuts the fat down in your body.
  • For the beer fans: You will enjoy this dish with a light beer, a darker beer, even more, tasteful. In The Netherlands seasonal draft beer or bottled bock beer would be nice to pair along, it has richer, sweeter lager with warm toasty undertones and minimal bitterness. More information on Beleef bockbier 2015, with an overview of 125 different bock beers in The Netherlands. Besides Guinness Stout beer or a Kilkenny, share yours.
  • As for wine lovers: A red Bordeaux is an easy choice, but for the adventurous wine sleuth, an Australian Shiraz-Viognier Barossa 2006 is a discovery I can recommend. My all time favourite would be the Chilean Tarapacca Carmenere, rich in berry fruits and spices to pair with my bowl of Chinese style braised oxtail bones. You will not believe it, but I made my acquaintance and fell in love with Tarapacca in Taipei. Of course, there are far more than one grape or bottle, the more reason to cook and pair more meals.

If you have made the braised Oxtail bones, share your dinner send me a photo.

Enjoy!

 

Please read my disclaimer and disclosure on affiliated links and copyright notice for links and information in this post

 

Bitter Melon juice with Ginger, Honey and Lemon

The basic recipe for bitter melon or bitter gourd juice:

  • 2-3 small spiky bitter melon cleaned, halved remove sponge with seeds and pith or 1 medium-large smooth bitter melon
  • honey and lemon juice to taste
  • water

In some cooking and juicing recipes you can use the whole vegetable only removing the ends and chopped, the seeds are edible but work on your digestive system, a known side effect is a gastrointestinal discomfort.

Drinking bitter Melon juice plain mixed with a little bit of water is common, but it gets more palatable by adding ginger, lemon/lime juice and honey. For more recipes click here.

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Bitter Melon Juice with Ginger, honey and lemon

 

Apricot Banana Soymilk -Yoghurt Smoothie recipe

wpid-frankie.jpgWe are going out jogging with the Watcher and guardian of our house Frankie, during the week it’s compulsory daily dog walks but in the weekend we often take her on longer walks to parks or fields where she can dash and frolic around. It’s a morning ritual as soon as we step out of our bedrooms, she either is sitting up on her haunches wiggling her tail or doing her morning stretches and then follows us down the stairs for her breakfast and water bowl.

Today we have decided to walk along the Rijn-Schie kanaal in Leiden and Frankie knows she is going along with us, eagerly standing before the door ready to go. She rushes through her breakfast bowl while I am preparing ours to fuel us with energy and vitamins.

Apricot Banana Soymilk Vanilla Yoghurt Smoothie

Our morning ritual when we open our eyes is a strong cup of coffee or tea first since we are going for a long walk we choose to make a breakfast smoothie. I had soaked the soybeans the day before and made a fresh batch of soy milk yesterday, together with fresh apricots, a ripe banana and quick oatmeal for fibres to fuel us and extra energy.

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Fresh homemade soy milk 1 cup of soybeans yields 1,5-2ltrs

 

Apricot Banana Soymilk smoothie

Apricot Banana Soy milk yoghurt smoothie

Pineapple Ginger Mix – Fruit Juice recipe

Our fruit basket is mostly filled with hand fruit bananas, apples, avocados, grapefruit, oranges and a fresh pineapple. Last week a few of them still a tad unripe so I paired the bananas, avocado and pineapple to speed up the ripening process. The more perishable fruits are kept in the fridge, such as a big punnet of strawberries, raspberries. Yesterday we had a blended strawberry, raspberry, banana and yogurt smoothie for brunch. For this morning Fruit Juice Boost I opted to use my Philips HR1861 Whole fruit juicer instead to extract higher yield keeping all fruits nutritional values without waste. I have written a separate post on Fruit Juicer pro’s & con’s, just click to read the full story.

Don’t know whether you need to have a reason to start squeezing and extracting juice, but full ripe fruits sure needs to have your immediate attention to harvest nature’s nutrients at its prime. So this morning Fruit Juice Mix included; whole pineapple, the last avocado, two apples, 3 stalks celery, and half a cucumber founds it way through the feeding tube, added a knob of fresh ginger lastly, to give a zing to the mix.

Pineapple Ginger Mix

When everything went through the feeding tube into the centrifugal compartment, the juice river promptly flowed into the jug container yielding 400-500 ml of juice including a bit of foam (the bulk remained behind the divider in the plastic container jug). Poured myself a large glass (250 ml) for breakfast and kept the rest in the refrigerator for later use. The recipe is in the box down below.

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Pineapple Ginger Mix – Fruit Juice

Later in the day I prepared a triple sandwich for lunch and had the remainder Pineapple Ginger Mix poured into 2 glasses (200ml) with ¼ – ½ teaspoon of Chia seeds. Give it a good stir and let it stand it will turn the juice in viscous (thickening) fruit drink.

Now I have some great Grapefruits and Oranges left in the bowl, see for another great Fruit Juice. Click here for another Vitamine C Supercharger recipe with Citrus Boost with Grapefruit, Orange, Carrot and Ginger.

Smashed Beetspuds hodge-podge:

Smashed Beetspuds, hodge-podge

Smashed potatoes with beets, bacon, garlic, onion & fennel seed

After visiting an entertaining seminar I biked home along with a late afternoon sun, but the temperature had dropped to 4°C and I was stone cold by the time I stepped into the house. Time to prep dinner quickly, hot with loads of carbs since everyone was dropping in hungry and on the run for sports night or other social activity.

In the fridge was a packet pre-cooked beets, bacon lardons and we needed a filling so big potatoes or ‘spuds’. A different take on a local Dutch dish “Bieten Stamppot”; Dutch stuff ( ingredients ) + American influence (smashed potatoes) + Chinese cooking (moi) = Smashed Beetspuds! 🙂

Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. 

I am actually the only one who loves beets in our house and just telling they are highly nutritious root vegetables doesn’t cut it. You have to be inventive to balance the earthy ‘beets’ flavour into a nutritional and colourful dish. A Wednesday night hodgepodge, everything nice with sugar and spice with just a drop of balsamic vinegar and pinch of fennel seeds.

Instead of a pureé, opted  to ‘smash’ it and just give it a quick mix so it retains structure instead of a red pinkish mash-up. Unfortunately,the photo’s are not supporting my claim, but give the recipe a try I love to hear your comments or even better share your results send me a photo of your plate.