Slow cooker beef with Asian flavours (from scratch)

Asian-flavoured slow-cooked beef

Okay, so some of you may have clicked over from here. You may find some repetition in this post, so bear with me. Please?

This little concoction is my answer to the “I don’t know what to cook, but I’ll probably be hungry later —and tired—, so this will do” situation.

I’m sure you know what I mean.

Asian-flavoured slow-cooked beef

Asian-flavoured slow-cooked beef

This is something I can get into the slow cooker in minutes and serve a few hours later – filling my home with gorgeous smells in the intervening period.

I own several slow cookers but the one I use the most has got to be my smallest one. It’s a 1.5 litre or 1 quart sized appliance and it’s perfect for meals for two. All the photos in this post have been taken with this device.

Feel free to double or triple what I do here and then cook it in a larger slow-cooker. It will take longer than the few hours a small one would use to cook the smaller portion, but not much longer.

Start with half a kilo or a pound of chuck steak and cut into large cubes.

Cut into large cubes.

Cut into large cubes.

Add your spices to the meat on the cutting board. You can measure them carefully if you wish, I just tend to give each a good shake until I think the meat looks covered enough. I’ve had readers *demand* I give an actual measurement though, so start with a teaspoon of each and then decide if future versions need more or less. It’s completely up to you.

I used these spices:

This is a nice blend of flavours

This is a nice blend of flavours

I find ground cumin, ground coriander and ground ginger combine really well as an accompaniment to beef. It’s a combination that you’ll find often on these pages, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them. If you don’t like ginger, leave it out, it’s your meal after all.

On the other hand, if you are new to this cooking lark, give it a shot and see how you go. You never know, it may win you over.

I add a smattering of chilli flakes just to add a little heat without taking over the dish. I find it easier to control how much I dispense by shaking when I use flakes, chilli powder can be disastrous …

Spice your meat

Spice your meat

Now, I prepare some vegetables for the pot. It’s a very simple, very traditional combination of an onion, a carrot and a little celery.

Cut your onion into crescents.

Little crescent moons of onions

Little crescent moons of onions

Add to the base of the slow cooker.

Dice your carrots and celery and add them as well.

Add carrots and celery.

Add carrots and celery.

Again, you can use whatever combination you like. However, I find that these are three that I always have to hand and they form a very good base for most main meal dishes. It’s a mix that is often referred to as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of cooking, so let’s just go with the flow…

Now place your spiced meat into the pot, on top of the vegetables. Don’t stir yet!

I always keep these guys in my refrigerator, add a good teaspoonful of each to the pot.

Refrigerator staples.

Refrigerator staples.

Up the flavour with some fresh ginger and garlic.

Up the flavour with some fresh ginger and garlic.

Now add a good glug of the sauces you’d like to use.  On this occasion, I had these in my refrigerator door: Soy & Honey sauce, Hoi Sin and some sesame oil.

*A ‘glug’ may be translated as a tablespoon or so. You’re just adding flavours, not creating a cooking medium.

Choose your sauces

Choose your sauces

Add some glugs to the pot

Add a few glugs of whatever sauces you wish to the pot.

You may wish to use plain soy sauce, black bean, teriyaki, sweet chilli, oyster sauce, kecap manis…the list goes on. You don’t have to use a mix, you may use just one if you prefer (or if that is all you have).

Now stir.

Stir it all together.

Stir it all together.

As you can see from the picture above, the meat and other ingredients are only lightly coated by the sauces and spices.

Using a slow cooker is a very ‘wet’ method of cooking. As the ingredients release their own juices, they are captured via condensation on the lid and then drip down into the pot to further aid cooking. Think of it as your very own little Greenhouse Effect…

Place your pot on either low or high, depending on how quickly you wish to eat. This took my small slow cooker only 2.5 hours on low. If you are making a larger amount of this in a larger slow cooker, it will take longer – possibly 4 -6 hours on low.

Several hours later...

Several hours later…

As you can see, there is quite a bit of liquid in the bowl. This can be left as it is, or thickened with some cornflour. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

I felt that I’d like a few more vegetables in this, so I stirred through a handful each of frozen peas and frozen corn and popped the lid back on the pot for 30 minutes while I steamed some jasmine rice.

And this is the final result:

The final result

The final dish served with rice.

If you wish for a more tender version (although this is fab!) follow the instructions here and leave it overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

Enjoy!

Freeze ahead slow-cooker beef with asian flavors

Asian-flavoured slow-cooked beef

Asian-flavoured slow-cooked beef

You know, sometimes you just can’t be bothered cooking.

Sometimes, you don’t have much to cook with

This is something that can be prepared in minutes and then left to its own devices for several hours, OR prepped in a few minutes and frozen for one of those times when you just can’t be bothered, etc.

It tastes amazing.

It smells divine.

It also costs next to nothing.

All of which is fabulous.

I like to buy chuck steak, toss it with a few spices, stir in some Asian sauces and then walk away and leave it alone.

This is how it’s done:

Firstly, get yourself some nice pieces of chuck steak. You don’t need much, really truly. For today’s efforts I used around 750g or 1½ pounds. That will make 2 meals for us or feed four – whichever math you prefer.

I’m going to cook half now and freeze the rest for a future I-don’t-wanna-cook-day. The rest of this post will be about the preparation for freezing.

Chuck steak

Chuck steak

I like to buy whole pieces and cube them myself, it saves a little money over buying pre-diced, but also lets me control which bits get kept and which don’t. For example, while I want the marbling in the meat on the left, I really don’t want to keep the thick streak of fat in the piece on the right… so I discard it.

The rest I cut into large cubes (about an inch a side) and divide into two portions.

Cut into large cubes.

Cut into large cubes.

Please use a sharp knife for this, chuck is not a tender cut and it can be frustrating to slice something that just won’t behave nicely on a bluntish blade.

Then I have a little fun.

Half of the meat I pack away into a zip-lock bag for freezing and, as I do this I add a good sprinkling of whatever spices I have to hand and that I think might go well together. In this case I used ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cumin and some chilli flakes.

 

Add a good shake of whatever you have.

Add a good shake of whatever you have.

Seal up the bag and massage the spices through. It’s better to do it this way than to use an implement in the bag as you may pierce it and accidentally lay a path for freezer burn. That would be bad.

You can, of course, do this and all the following steps in a bowl and then bag it, but then you’d have to wash the bowl…up to you really!

Give the bag a good massage to mix the spices through the meat.

Give the bag a good massage to mix the spices through the meat.

I like to then add a good teaspoon of grated ginger and crushed garlic – out of a jar.  I always have a small jar of each in my refrigerator, it saves time and it saves frustration on those days when my fingers simply won’t behave.

Add a good teaspoon each of grated ginger and crushed garlic.

Add a good teaspoon each of grated ginger and crushed garlic.

Now, grab whatever sauce tickles your fancy. You can use one sauce, or you can use several, It’s completely up to you. I used Honey Soy sauce, Hoi Sin and a glug of toasted Sesame oil; simply put a bit into the bag and repeat the massaging.

Add some minced ginger, crushed garlic and a few glugs of sauces.

Add a few glugs of sauce.

Seal the bag, excluding as much air as possible, flatten for easier storage, label and freeze.

Massage your flavours through.

Massage your flavours through.

That was traumatically difficult, wasn’t it?

Ready to freeze Asian Spiced beef

Ready to freeze Asian Spiced beef

Then, when you are ready to cook it, add a few chopped veg to your slow cooker, stir in your beef mixture, place it on low heat and leave it for around 3 hours. Serve with plain rice, or mashed potatoes.

You can add the meat mixture frozen, or let it defrost overnight in your refrigerator. The latter option will allow the meat to marinate for a few hours in all the gorgeous spices and sauces you have added.

I was going to include detailed instructions for assembling the casserole, but the post would be rather long… so, there will be another post here that describes the same recipe but cooked from fresh.

Please forgive me and click on. xx