Here whole cinnamon, anise, cloves, and peppercorns subtly flavor a slow-cooked stew of beef and dried Chinese black mushrooms. Use brisket, chuck, or blade steak for this hearty, melt-in-your-mouth dish. Remove the hard stems from the mushrooms and use just the mushroom caps.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried black mushrooms
1 (1 1/2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed and cubed
1 1/2 cups chopped green onions, divided
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
1/2 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
3 star anise
3 whole cloves
2 dried red chiles
1 (14 1/4-ounce) can low-salt beef broth
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 1/2 cups hot cooked basmati rice
How to Make It
Combine boiling water and mushrooms. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Chop mushrooms; set aside. Strain soaking liquid through a cheesecloth- or paper towel-lined sieve into a bowl. Discard solids; reserve 1 cup soaking liquid.
Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook 8 minutes on all sides or until browned. Add 3/4 cup onion, ginger, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in reserved soaking liquid, 1 1/4 cups water, and next 9 ingredients (1 1/4 cups water through cinnamon); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Stir in mushrooms. Cover and simmer 40 minutes or until beef is tender. Remove beef mixture with a slotted spoon. Discard star anise, cloves, dried chiles, and cinnamon stick. Bring remaining liquid to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Stir in 3/4 cup onion and oil. Serve beef mixture over rice with sauce.