Chinese-Style Braised Oxtails with Shiitake Mushrooms, Eggs, and Cilantro

Soy-braised cuts of meat and eggs are the typical fare of comfort food in the Chinese culture. The different array of spices lend a lovely balance of flavors that Chinese cuisine features. Normally this one pot wonder is not horribly appetizing to look but who says you shouldn’t play with your food?

Here’s another attempt at making oxtail attractive

Enough fussing with decorating. Destroy and eat!

If oxtail has you raising your eyebrows, think of braised short ribs. It’s similar in consistency and cooks up similarly. You can find oxtails at your Asian or European markets but I’ve also seen it at Ralphs occasionally.

Ingredients

2 lbs beef oxtails
1/2 tbs freshly ground sichuan peppercorn
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 pinches red pepper
1 tsp five spice
4 slices of ginger, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 cups brewed black tea
1 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 large onion, cut into thick slices
1/4 cup shoaxing wine
2 tablespoons sugar (brown or white)

Optional:
4 eggs
6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and rehydrated
1/2 cup cilantro, packed

Directions

Place oxtails in a medium sized pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Clean skum off of pot and return oxtails to the pot.

If preparing eggs: Add 3-4 eggs to a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat.

Add all ingredients except for sugar into pot.  Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes. Flip the oxtails and cook for another 30 minutes, partially covered. If adding eggs, place hard-boiled and peeled eggs into pot. Flip the oxtails again and cook for another 30 minutes uncovered. Taste the sauce, if it is too salty, add another cup of water or black tea. Add sugar and mushrooms (if using). Repeat one more time (oxtails will be cooked for 2 hours total). Your oxtails, mushrooms, and eggs are technically ready to eat but if you can wait for one more day. Or do what I do, eat half and save the rest for the next day.

Remove pot from heat. Let cool to room temperature and place in fridge over night.

The next day, remove any bits of fat that have formed on the top. Reheat the pot until oxtails are thoroughly heated. Eat as is or have fun creating a restaurant-worthy presentation with layers of rice, chopped cilantro, sliced egg, and shredded oxtails. Drizzle remaining sauce over your creation and enjoy!

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