Few things make her happier than cooking a big meal for her family. She loves cooking for he children and grandchildren and when we say something along the lines of “Oh grandma, the food you made is so DELICIOUS! We love it!” you can often here her giggling. For a lot of older Eastern ladies, most of them are housewives their whole lives. They sacrifice themselves to their family and children so the “kitchen” is their stage. When my grandmother came to the UK in 2012 she brought her rubber gloves with her and when she was cutting vegetables she refused to let me help her, even though I’m a trained chef. This kind of thing always makes me laugh.
I cook most of the meals at home for my husband and daughter but a lot of times I really don’t know what to cook. I’m used to people ordering food from me at work so I guess this carries over at home so I usually present Chris with the question “Eastern or Western food” “noodles or rice?” then I have a pretty good idea about what to cook. I believe for a lot of mums who cook most of the food at home they must have the same feeling so whenever I go back to Taipei I always prepare a “list” of food for my grandma or my mum. This way everyone is extremely happy.
While I was back in Taipei recently dealing with the death of my father, I was away from home sorting things out and grandma, being the cute old lady she is, even phoned me to ask me if I want her to put tomatoes in this beef stew she was cooking. I told her to cook it anyway she likes, which she will really love hearing but in all honesty the addition of tomato was perfect. It made the beef stew less fatty/greasy. I cooked a very similar dish in my cookbook without tomato and I have to admit this recipe tastes so much better.
So this is my grandmother’s recipe for Chinese Daikon, carrot and tomato beef stew:
Chinese Daikon, Carrot and Tomato Beef Stew
- 1 kg beef flank or shin or any slow cook beef, cut into big dice
- 480 g vine tomato chop roughly
- 120 g onion or 1 medium size onion, chop roughly
- 10 g ginger slice thin
- 200 g carrot peel and slice 2cm thick
- 600 g daikon peel, slice 2cm thick and cut into quarters
- 1 ltr boiling water
- 200 ml light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 70 ml rice wine
- 2 star anise
- 1/4 cinnamon stick you could add tangerine peel for extra flavour
Boil a big pot of water and add the beef. Boil for 5 minutes to clean any dirt off the beef. After 5 minutes, use cold water to wash away any dirt on the surface of the meat and drain the water. Leave the beef aside for later
Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the ginger and onion until the fragrance comes out. Add the beef and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes
Pour the rice wine in and cook for 30 seconds. Add light and dark soy sauce and boil
After step 3 has boiled, add tomato, water, star anise, cinnamon stick and tangerine peel (optional)
Cook for 1.5 hours. The beef should be nearly soft and then add the carrots and daikon. Cook until the carrots and daikon are soft. Check the seasonings to suit your taste before serving