Caramelised beef brisket with watercress, lemon and radish salad

Caramelised beef brisket with a fresh and piquant salad.
Caramelised beef brisket with a fresh and piquant salad. Photo: William Meppem

This flavourful, coarse-grained cut of beef lends itself perfectly to braising. After several hours of gentle cooking, the brisket takes on all the scent and flavours of anise, cinnamon, ginger and garlic, and the muscular texture breaks down and tenderises into succulent, meaty, rich and warming mouthfuls, which are balanced out by the piquant watercress and lemon salad. Strain the red braising stock well once the brisket is cooked, freeze and use again and again.


1kg beef brisket, cut into 5cm chunks

For the red braising stock

4 litres cold water

2 cups (500ml) shao hsing wine

2 cups (500ml) tamari

1 cup brown sugar

8 garlic cloves, crushed

2 x 8cm pieces (90g) ginger, sliced

6 spring onions, trimmed and cut in half crossways

1 tsp sesame oil

6 star anise

2 cinnamon quills

3 strips orange zest

For the caramel

1 cup (220g) brown sugar

1 cup (250ml) water

3 tbsp fish sauce

juice of 2 limes

For the watercress salad

1 bunch watercress, washed and trimmed

1 bunch red radishes, cut into quarters

salt flakes

juice of 1 lemon

extra virgin olive oil


1. To make red braising stock, place all stock ingredients in a large pan or stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes to allow flavours to infuse.

2. Meanwhile place brisket in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then drain, discarding the water. Rinse brisket thoroughly under cold water and drain well. (This process rids the meat of any impurities before braising.)

3. Transfer brisket to simmering stock, ensuring it is fully submerged. Braise very gently for two hours, or until the meat is soft and gelatinous, skimming stock regularly with a ladle. With tongs, remove brisket and drain, allow to cool. Pat brisket dry with paper towel.

4. To make caramel, combine brown sugar and water in a wok, bring to a boil and simmer for six minutes, then add fish sauce. Add brisket to the wok and toss to coat. Stir in lime juice.

5. To make watercress salad, place all ingredients in a bowl and toss well.

6. Place brisket on serving platter or bowl and serve with watercress salad on the side.

Find more of Kylie Kwong's recipes in the Good Food Favourite Recipes cookbook.

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