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Nghe An’s traditional beef shank, stewed with molasses, a must-try dish

Nghệ An is nationally known for its organic molasses, made from the sugar cane grown locally, which have their own distinctive flavor. So all local households save the molasses to braise the beef shank for a big celebration, such as Tết (New Year) or a wedding, but it is also a dish that is now served at daily meals, said local resident Phan Thị Ngọt.

“The molasses is a natural preservative, which gives the dish its own special flavor and is savory, spicy from chili and fragrant from ginger and quality fish sauce,” Ngọt added, 76, who lives in Tân Hương Village in Tân Kỳ District, which is famous for making quality molasses.

To make this tasty dish, the most important thing is to get fresh beef shank, which Ngọt orders in advance to ensure the meat is of good quality.

Each family has its own way of preparing the dish; and Ngọt also has her ‘secret’ recipe.

Ingredients include fresh green tea leaves, dried chili, garlic, dried onion, lemongrass, cinnamon, anise, clove buds and amomum tsao-ko.

Ngọt said she starts by boiling the fresh green tea leaves with water to clean the meat very gently, to release any unpleasant odors and ensure the meat is savory and tender.

After braising, the shank is firm but still tender and therefore it is easy to cut it into very thin slices, which will then absorb the flavor of all the spices.

Other steps include grilling the ginger over charcoal, before frying it together with the chopped onion and lemongrass, molasses and fish sauce, with the beef shank marinated for at least a day and overnight, before then cooking it for an hour. small fire, said Ngọt.

“The dish is tasty when eaten cool,” she added.

Ngọt’s daughter Nguyễn Thị Hoàng, who has been resettled to Denmark, said that when she is homesick, she often cooks beef shank to remind her parents in Vietnam.

“I often cook the dish to welcome the Tết holiday. But despite my efforts, my braised beef shank is not as tasty as my mother’s because we are missing some original Vietnamese spices in Denmark” said Hoàng, adding that her family still thoroughly enjoys the taste.

In addition to the Nghệ An-style braised beef shank, TasteAtlas, the world’s culinary map, recently recognized Vietnam’s braised beef among the top 100 tastiest great dishes in the world.

“Braised beef and braised beef are among one of the favorite dishes in Vietnam. The ingredients are beef, carrots, onions, shallots, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, pepper and chili. Besides being eaten with bread, guests can also enjoy it enjoy with rice and phở topped with fresh herbs,” TasteAtlas reported. “It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.” VNS