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Make My Rice Bowl's leek and oxtail stew with glass noodles

If you're looking to chase the chill away, this Korean hot pot is a proper winter warmer that's both delicious and easy to make

Make My Rice Bowl's leek and oxtail stew with glass noodles; photography by Charity Burggraaf

Serves 4

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 2 hours 20

The Chinese method of red cooking, or red braising, involves cooking meat with a scattering of sugar. The sugar, which caramelises on the surface of the meat, pumps up the naturally sweet flavour that comes with searing the surface of any protein. Once the browned bits of the oxtail simmer for a couple hours, the entire broth takes on a rich, sweet flavour.

Chinese mustard greens are also known as mustard cabbage and sow cabbage. They'll add a little heat to the rich caramelised meat, but if you can't find them online you can use kale instead.

Ingredients

  • 900g of beef oxtail (cut up into 4-6 sections)
  • 32g sugar
  • 1 tbsp of kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 2 red Fresno chillies, stems removed, halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup sake
  • 1 litre of water
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 small leek (white and light-green parts), cut into 1-inch half-moons
  • 115g of glass noodles
  • 1 bunch Chinese mustard greens, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Put the oxtail in a colander in the sink and run under cold water for 5 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Pat the oxtail dry.
  2. In a small bowl, blend together the sugar, salt, and pepper. Pat this mixture into the oxtail on all sides.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Heat a large, heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the coated oxtail, and cook attentively for 5 to 6 minutes, turning each piece as it caramelises on the bottom. You want the pieces to get good and dark on all sides but don't want them to actually burn.
  4. Add the garlic and chillies, and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping some of the browned bits up of the bottom of the pan. Add the sake and cook for another few minutes, stirring, until the sake just glazes the bottom of the pan. Add the water, soy sauce and vinegar, stir to combine and bring back to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 2 hours, or until the oxtail meat comes off the bone easily when you tug at it.
  5. Carefully transfer the pot back to the stovetop, maintaining a strong simmer. Add the leek and cook for about 3 minutes, then add the noodles, stirring them in as they soften on top of the liquid, and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard greens for 1 to 2 minutes before serving.