Cantonese Stewed Beef (Ngau Lum) Recipe

Ngau Lum or Cantonese style braised beef is one of my favourite dishes of all time. It used to be a regular feature at Cantonese wanton mee stalls but it is getting more difficult to find nowadays. The cost of good quality beef is getting too expensive such that it is no longer feasible to sell it at $4 with a plate of noodles.  So, if you want to eat this dish, you will have to make it yourself.  The good thing is that it is really quite simple to make.  Everything just goes into a pot and you just have to cook it low and slow to produce a super tasty dish.

The main difficulty in making this dish lies in the sourcing of the ingredients.  For the beef, tendon and tripe, you can buy them from the wet market or speciality butchers. I bought my Chu Hou sauce and spices from Kwong Cheong Thye, Geylang Lor 27.

Beef short ribs 1kg
Tendons 400g
Tripe 300g
Daikon radish – 1 large

Ginger 5 slices
Garlic 4 cloves (sliced)
Cinnamon 1 stick
Star Anise 5
Bay leaves 4
Candied orange 2 Tbsp
Dried tangerine peel 1 orange

Chu Hou Sauce 3 Tbsp
Fermented bean curd 2 Tbsp or 2 cubes
Oyster sauce 1 Tbsp
Chicken stock powder 2 tsp
Soy sauce 1 Tbsp
Rock sugar 2 Tbsp
Hua Diao cooking wine 1/2 cup

Salt to taste


Cut the beef, tendon and tripe into 1 inch cubes and blanch them in hot water for 5 mins to remove the scum.  Fry ginger and garlic. Add beef and brown.  Add the sauces and spices and enough water to almost cover the beef.  Bring to a simmer and place in 130°C and cook for 2 hours.  Add radish and cook for another 2 hours.  Once the beef is fork tender, bring it out of the oven and season with salt to taste.   It will be even better if left overnight in the fridge and heated the next day!

Instead of braising in the oven, you can also simmer over the stovetop, but you will need to stir it more often to prevent the meat at the bottom of the pot from being burnt.

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