Empress beef

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    or more as part of a Chinese meal

Appears in

The Chinese restaurant, Ming, in Greek Street has consistently served some of the best and most interesting Chinese food in London for years. The owner, Christine Yau, is very committed to serving a huge variety of dishes with clear authentic flavours and not a lot of concessions to the worst aspects of Londoners’ taste in Chinese food. What accommodations she does make are in the areas of decor, service, hygiene and willingness to please, thus easily outshining most of Chinatown. Empress Beef is one of the specialities at Ming, and is a cleaned-up version of Yau Nam, Cantonese stewed brisket of beef. I say ‘cleaned-up’, in that a great deal of gristle and fat has been removed in her version from the sometimes over-anatomical original. The dish has been pared down to its basics, preserving all the enticing flavours.


  • 1.5 kg fresh as opposed to salted beef brisket, in one piece
  • 1 recipe Soy Master Stock
  • fresh coriander leaves (optional)


Make the stock and, when it is ready, place the brisket in it. Bring to a simmer, skim and continue to cook for 2½ hours. The brisket must be very tender. You can check this by inserting a carving fork into the meat and attempting to pull it out again: if the beef clings to the tines, it needs more cooking.


Allow the meat to cool completely in its stock. Remove from the pot and cut into 2 cm slices, trimming any gristle and most of the fat as you go. Sieve the stock and put 300 ml to boil and reduce by half, skimming off any grease that rises during this process. Reheat the beef pieces in the unreduced stock, drain them and arrange on a serving platter, then moisten it with a little of the reduced stock. Scatter with a few fresh coriander leaves if you wish.